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Riders of Texas

Riders of Texas is a Texas based group of men and women motorcycle riders based around Baytown Houston area. Five of us Travis Hicks(group founder in 2007) Mike Burgess, Nick Boyett, Don Wilkins and John Legh=Page will ride to Sturgis this year for the Sturgis Motorcycle rally and then on to Alaska and back. This will be the 3rd motorcycle trip I have led to Alaska. It will be Mike, Nick, Don and Johns first.

Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.

Aug 24, 2013

Sunset on the Oregon Coast line 20 miles north of Brookings.
We spent the day cruising south on US Highway 101 along the emerald green Oregon Coast today. We passed quaint little port towns like Astoria, where we crossed a 4.5 mile bridge over the mouth of the Columbia River to Lewis and Clark National Park in Washington to watch some 4,000 fishermen in boats anchored 10 across and as far out as you could see in the river channel catching their limits of 4 salmon each.

Freighters were anchored in the river channel waiting their turn to be loaded with raw Oregon timber for the voyage to China, where the logs would be cut into boards, fashioned into wood furniture and shipped back to the US to furnish new homes.

We passed beach communities like Seaside, where the Mt Hood marathon runners would finish their race that afternoon. It was Saturday, so each little beach community like Cannon Beach had a farmers market, art fair and other events.

The road was winding, the ocean water was a dark aqua, the sun was shining, air temp was 65 and I had Andrea Bocelli singing Italian opera on the stereo. Cruising down Hwy 101, I was in this Oregonian Zen like state all morning.

The Oregon Coast runs almost 400 miles north to south and the landscape changes about every hundred miles. It starts as rocky beaches, changes to mountains dropping into the sea, goes to dairy valleys, then giant wind swept sand dunes, then back to rocky beaches. It is probably the most beautiful coastline in the US.

The Oregon dairy valleys remind me of the Blue Bell Country happy cows commercial. The black and white dairy cows who produce organize milk for Tillamook, Blue Heron and Humboldt Creameries, live in the valley meadows surrounded by beautiful forested hills and dine on cool green grass, fresh alfalfa and wild clover. They are stress free, live twice as long as regular cows and produce creamy milk with a high butterfat content that makes for wonderful cheese and ice cream.

The creamery workers are all vegetarians and wear special black and white informs to make the cows feel comfortable. Beef is a four letter word and the creamery cafeteria is managed by Chick-fil-a. Tillamook cheddar is one of my favorite cheese.

We picked ripe blackberries for snacks at each roadside overlook and pull out. We watched a pod of humpback whales feeding on a school of sardines in the waters below the cliffs we were overlooking, just a short ways from where we saw sea lions sunning on the rocks.

We walked the beaches and wind blown sand dunes of Southern Oregon and watched a stunning sunset along the Oregon California border. We rode through a half hour of marine fog after sunset and stopped overnight in Crescent City, CA

Aug 25, 2013

The Drive thru Tree near the intersection of Ca 101 and 1
We started our ride this morning from Crescent City, CA. There was a herd of elk along side the road in a marine layer fog as we rode through Redwood National Forest in hour one of our ride.

In hour two, I was listening to Elvis sing gospel music on the stereo this morning as we drove through Eureka, Ca, where the local motorcycle dealer had opened his doors on a Sunday, to minister to the bikers from nearby Charming, CA, who had come to rumble in Eureka on Saturday night. The banner read, "Oh, Sons of Anarchy, are you sinners?" "Come meet Jesus".

As long as we are ministering... Did you know that the giant redwoods were seedlings when Jesus walked the earth. Yes, at 350 ft tall, 20 ft in diameter and over 2,000 years old, redwoods are the oldest and largest living organisms on earth.

After Eureka, we rode back into the Avenue of the Giants, another 25 miles of redwood groves where some of the oldest and largest of these ancient immortals reside.

We spent the morning on Highway 101 riding through several redwood groves, where the road designers were thoughtful enough to pave narrow roadways in between growing trees. We also rode the "Drive thru a tree road", where you actually drive thru the center of chandelier redwood, which is 20 ft in diameter, with this 10 ft wide tunnel carved through its trunk.

From there, we hopped onto Highway 1, which has 25 miles of hairpin twists and curves as it winds through the redwood forests back to the coast. This was a foot peg scraping, side wall tire gripping, rip roaring run through the forest kind of ride, that was so fun, when we got off the bikes at the end, we wanted to ride it back the other way.

We stayed on Hwy 1 south along the rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The air temp was 65-75 all day, and surfers in wet suits were catching waves below in 55 degree water. While at each of the river mouths, kayakers and seals could be seen looking to catch an unsuspecting fish.q

At Bodegas Bay, we entered the Russian River Valley and criss crossed through miles of Sonoma and Napa estate vineyards, working our way east towards Yosemite. We stopped for the night in Fairfield, CA and will head for Yosemite tomorrow.

Aug 28, 2013

We rode through Zion National Park this morning and spotted a herd of Big Horn Sheep in the red rocky cliffs. Zion has two major canyons, one sheer granite cliffs and the other red sandstone that has been carved into art sculptures by the wind and rain. Zion is one of the bucket list parks that everyone should see.

After Zion, we passed beautiful Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, with its perfectly shaped symmetrically smooth pink mounds.

We crossed parts on Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Hopi Tribal lands today. We were in high deserts, low deserts, ponderosa forests and red cliff table mesa, with up and down altitude changes of 5,000 ft and air temp swings that ranged from 54 to 94 degrees, so it was layer on layer off several times through the day.

At noon, we met up with Steve Smith, in Kanab, Utah. Steve lead us on a ride to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Steve rode with us to Sturgis last year and rides these Utah roads weekly, so we became his goldwing men riding trail behind him around sweeping horse shoe shaped curves through the ponderosa pine forests. Steve knew just the right speed to run each curve and produce maximum lean with minimum road clearance. The canyon view at the top of the ride was as grand as its name. We enjoyed venison stew and elk chili for lunch at the lodge.

We parted ways with Steve and headed southeast, across the Colorado River running through Glen Canyon just below Lake Powell. Lake Powell is a dammed section of the Colorado River in upper Glen Canyon, part of the Grand Canyon network. Powell is 200 miles long, and has sheer canyon walls that start 500 ft below the water and rise another 400 ft above the water line. Lake Powell is so large, it has a fleet of hundreds of 60 ft 3 bedroom houseboats available for weekly vacation rental with upper sun decks and slides to cruise the lake on.

We turned east onto Highway 264 at Tuba City, Arizona, two hours before sunset, opened the our golden wings and soared above a hundred miles of Hopi Tribal Territory until we started losing our sunlight and watch a gorgeous sunset over the red sandstone cliffs of the Hopi mesa.

We are at the Hopi Hotel and Cultural Center in the middle of the reservation tonight. For not too much wampum, we had traditional Hopi dinners of noqkwivi (tender lamb and white corn hominy stew) and tsili'ongava (slow cooked red chili beans and beef) each served with frybread. Breakfast tomorrow should be just as interesting.

Aug 29, 2013

We started the morning watching an glowing orange sunrise over the once great Hopi Indian Nation. We headed east on Navajo Code Talker Highway across the Navajo Reservation to Window Rock, Arizona.

Did you know that 500 Navajo warriors were recruited into the US Marines during WWII. They devised a secret code based on the Navajo language that was used to encrypt strategic battlefield messages across the Pacific 1942-45. The Japanese were unable to crack the Navajo code, and it helped secure US wins in Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and other major war campaigns.

We got our kicks on Route 66 through Gallup, Albuquerque and Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We had corn dogs, chili dogs and soft serve ice cream for lunch in honor of the old Route 66 diners.

We turned south through Ft Sumner, where the wild west outlaw Billy the Kidd was shot to death by Marshall Pat Garrett. Garrett was one of the most famous lawmen west of the Pecos. They have a Museum dedicated to the old west in Ft Sumner.

We headed east again through Clovis, New Mexico, crossed into Texas, continued through Lubbuck and down to Snyder, Texas, where we ran out of daylight. We had Mexican food tonight for dinner for the first time in 6 weeks.

We burned 720 miles today across a scorched hot Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Air temp in Snyder at sundown was still 91 degrees. It has been a long couple of days in the saddle, but we should be home tomorrow night. —
It has been fantastic. No one will ever come close to imagining all we have seen on this trip. We rode our motorcycles 13,823 miles. A true trip of a lifetime. We will never be able to top this one.