Stickman Across America

Preface: This the story of a motorcycle ride to Kingman, Arizona with my Free Mason Riding Club "brothers".  We met up in Kingman for a motorcycle rally in Laughlin.  After the rally we split up and I continued my journey to California on my own. This  is the account of my trip.

Day 1
April 19, 2007

I have arrived at my buddy and Free Mason Riding Club brother, Papa's house in Fort Worth, Texas... albeit not without incident. The ride was beautiful and I met a lot of nice people along the way.  I met up with the "Wild Hogs" at the first rest stop in Texas... they were kicked back and enjoying life. I pulled in for a restroom break and they invited me to ride along with them. "I'll catch you down the road" I replied. That was the end of that, I thought.  Well, as fate would have it, my next fuel stop they were just topping off their gas tanks. "Want to join us for something to eat"? "Sure, why not". We all set off for a restaurant 10 minutes away.

30 minutes and 50 miles later we had still not pulled over to a restaurant. The ride captain makes a right hand turn onto a service road... the 3rd bike in the pack decides to do a doughnut on the side of the road... can you say spin out? As tail gunner, I was the first to realize a rider down. "Are you okay"? I asked. "Yeah, I just can't believe this gravel". The whole left side of his bike was taken out. Clutch, shifter, pegs and cowling gone! At this point all the riders were confused and really had no direction. I immediately called my masonic brother, Papa. "Hey Papa, Have you got a trailer"? "No" was his answer, "Why"? "I've been riding with some guys and one of them had a wreck". Papa gave me some numbers to the local Harley Davidson (HD) dealers and I promptly related. With that they were off to the nearest HD dealer and I was back on the road to Papa's. Now keep in mind, I've got the GPS numbers on Papa, so I continued thinking I would show up and surprise him... the only thing is, my GPS is not set up with a street map program. I was circling his neighborhood like a fish reef. Papa kept calling me on my cell phone... "Where are you"? He finally gave up the ship and rescued me at the local UHAUL dealership in his  neighborhood. In short time, our fellow riding brother, GloJoe shows up and we are having a grand ole time... I got Papa hooked on the jack Daniels and we are kicking back having a good old time.

Day 2 and 3
April 20-21, 2007

Well, we have made it to Tucumcari, New Mexico safe and sound. We arrived around 10:00 p.m. local time. It has taken my a couple of hours to find a good enough signal for my Wi-Fi to work.

Friday night Papa drove me over to GloJoe and Rudy's where we had a nice visit. It was good to see Rudy again and as always she was a pleasure to be around. Papa wasn't feeling well (he couldn't handle the Jack Daniels the night before) so he left me there and GloJoe brought me back to Papa's after a while since we had to ride the following day.

Yesterday we made our sad farewells to Papa, Linda and Liz who were most hospitable. Ronbo showed up at Papa's and Glojoe was right behind him. The three of us rode Oklahoma City without incident, arriving about 6:00 p.m. We grabbed a bite and called Papa to get the information about when Bear, Big Don, Skydancer, Maid Marian, Grumpy and Dixie would be showing up... 6:30 was the time given. GloJoe and I check in to the motel and the group showed up on schedule. From there we went to a local sports bar so that Bear's crew could get something to eat. Afterwards, we watched some of the Ultimate Fighting Championship which was live on Spike TV. The party moved to Bear and Big Don's room and wound up around midnight. Morning came too early for me but that's just the way it goes.

Today's trip started out at Oklahoma City around 0930. We had breakfast and hit the road. The ride was a bit windy for the first leg but it slacked off as we got back into Texas. We saw some beautiful scenery along our route. We stopped at a local indian souvenir shop and bought some patches and I couldn't resist one of those handmade flutes $$$. We saddled back up and was almost to Amarillo, Texas when we noticed Skydancer and Maid Marion had fallen behind. We pulled off and waited for a few minutes to no avail. The group backtracked to find them broke down with a faulty screw or something that caused them to lose the fluid in the brake reservoir. Dano got out his tools and made the necessary repairs while Big Don and I hightailed it down the road for more fluid. After a short delay we were back in the wind.

Once in Amarillo we found a local steak house (Hoffbrau Steaks) and enjoyed a good sit down meal. Afterwards we made the desolate ride to Tucumcari. Gas stops were nonexistent and we barely made it to a service station without running out of gas.

Bear, Big Don, Grumpy, Dixie, Skydancer and Maid Marian check in to the Hotel 6 as prescribed by our itinerary but GloJoe and I wanted to find a place with internet access so we went next door to the Econolodge.

Tomorrow we should be riding on to Gallup, New Mexico, then who knows where? Hopefully, I will be able to continue this log at that point.  The weather has been great!

Day 4 (In the Wind)

This morning came way too early... GloJoe and I was up until around 0400 talking about the first one thing then another. We were up and packed at 10:00 and ready to roll. We gathered for one more parting shot before GloJoe headed back to Fort Worth and for the record he made it back safe and sound.

The rest of us (Bear, Big Don, Skydancer, Maid Marian, Grumpy and Dixie) headed west out of Tucumcari. We rode through Santa Rosa, topped off and the adventure began. We had strong winds howling through the high plains all the way. All motorcycles were angled into the wind for miles and miles. We had to wear ear plugs because the wind hurt so bad. At one point we encountered a dust storm and it felt like we were being sandblasted.

Don't get me wrong the scenery was mind blowing literally. Especially if this is the first time to be out west by highway, as I am. We stopped at many souvenir shops and thank goodness Skydancer brought his trailer because right now he has my bowling shirt, indian flute and a couple of metal Route 66 signs in it. All I have to do now is figure out how to get it home... I'm thinking U.S. Mail.

Papa called during the day checking on our progress and Baker Vending (Paul) to make sure I was coming back.

I've been taking a lot of pictures, as is Maid Marian, so this trip should be well chronicled. We lost the Bear for a short time today when he got pissed off that the wind was blowing so hard and pulled off at the Continental Divide (Elevation 7295 ft.) without making his intentions clear. We pulled off at the next exit and I backtracked to his location. Everyone else continued on to Gallup, New Mexico. Did I mention that it was cold? The more the day wore on the lower the temperatures became. I was near hypothermic when we hit a rest stop at a Navaho Nation souvenir shop where I purchased another keepsake  While we are on the subject of souvenirs, Grumpy walked up to me in one of the shops with a bag of "rattlesnake eggs". "Can you believe this" he says to me. "These eggs should be refrigerated so they won't hatch", "open it and look at what they look like" I took the bag and lifted the lid and it rattled like a snake was in it. He got me! It was a washer with a rubber band wound around it. haha

Anyway, after me and Bear had a couple of cups of Java and I took a picture of the landmark, we got back on the road and met the rest the of the gang at the Ramada Inn in Gallup. It started sleeting about a mile from the hotel... WOW!

We all checked in and proceeded to walked across the parking lot to a Cracker Barrel for some much needed chow.
At the moment, Big Don, Bear and myself are hunkered down until tomorrow where we will take off for Kingman, Arizona.

Day 5 and 6 (Ghost Town of Oatman, Arizona)

Tuesday we rode all day from Gallup NM to Kingman, AZ. The winds have subsided and the scenery was fantastic. We stopped at Winslow Arizona and stood on the corner where "Take it Easy" was composed. After that we got separated and Skydancer, Maid Marian and myself went by the Meteor Crater (big hole in the ground). Seligman, AZ was our next stop for brunch and we staged a photo shoot with Bear dragging some carrots in front of Skydancer. It was hard for him to keep up at times due to the trailer they were pulling. After all, it was loaded down with all of our souvenirs We finally pulled in to Kingman around 8:00 p.m. We all found a local watering hole and celebrated the day.

Today was spent in Oatman, AZ... A small little ghost town northwest of Kingman and nestled in the Black Mountains. Trust me, you would not want to go over the edge on this ride. We also had to keep an eye out for wild burros. Once in Oatman, Kris gave us the grand tour. After breakfast he shared with us some of his experiences growing up with the local ghosts that haunt the town to this day. One story is of a woman that was with her husband and he left her there, promising to return the following week. He never returned but she sat by the
window in her room looking out every day for him to come back. She took a job as a school teacher until she died. Since her death, her spirit is still seen from time to time in the window, looking out. Believe it or not some aberrations are showing up on some of the pictures we took. Big Don, Bear, Dano and myself got new tattoos. Bear, Skydancer and myself got a square and compass and Big Don got a YOD symbol done. Brother Brad had some nice work done too that also included the S/C. History in the making. We fed the burros and did some shopping. Me and Bear bought new leather jackets for a very good price. Later in the afternoon, Mike led us out of town and we rode over to Laughlin, Nevada.

The 25th Annual Laughlin River Run is this week and there are thousands of bikes on the road. It is estimated that there will be in excess of 200,000 by weeks end. We parked at the Golden Nugget Casino. Bear, Don, Dano and Marian walked down to check out the vendors. I stayed with the bikes and guarded them while everyone shopped. Dano and Marian brought me back a Laughlin River Run patch for my effort.

We left and made the scenic ride back over to Kingman where we are tonight.

Tomorrow... Las Vegas...

Day 7 and 8


Skydancer, Maid Marian, Grumpy and Dixie went their separate ways in Kingman. Bear, Big Don and myself rode on up to Las Vegas where we were the guest of Bear's longtime friend Ray Sword, former lead singer of Harlot, an old 80's metal band. Ray was the best host ever and his whole family welcomed us with open arms... no pun intended. He has a wife named Kim and two beautiful children Noah and Brittney.

Noah was as excited as ever to see the Bear when we pulled up. It wasn't too long before I was compelled to give Noah my FMRC Bowling shirt. He is ten years old and wise as a teenager. Noah, seemed like the welcome committee with his non stop adoration of the Free Masons Riding Club.

Big Don, Noah and myself kept each other entertained while Bear and Ray caught up on the past couple of years. After a fine Spaghetti dinner, Ray rode the guys over to the Daylight Lodge of which Bear is a member. We took some pictures and had a tour o f the lights of Vegas before going back home.

The rest of the evening was spent socializing and Ray gave us all some old rock n roll memorabilia.  We hit the rack around midnight. I don't know where Bear slept but me and Big Don had a nice big sofa in separate rooms... I didn't even hear any snoring... SWEET!

We all got to wash our dirty clothes and I stayed up until they were done since I was the closest to the laundry room. After that, LIGHTS OUT.

This morning, I was sound asleep when I hear the words "stickman" "stickman"... it was Noah telling me he was going to school. I was groggy to say the least but I could see he still had on the FMRC Bowling shirt. "Nice shirt" was the best I could do on being awaken so abruptly. "Have a great day at school" was the last thing I remember saying before him giving me a "high five"... I fell back to sleep.

A couple of hours later, I could hear the mumbling of Big Don and Bear in conversation.. . I tried to wake up and after 30 minutes I did. We loaded our bikes and hit not one but two Starbucks before leaving Las Vegas.

Bear, Big Don and myself split up just north of Las Vegas. They headed back through Laughlin for their return trip home and I headed north to find the Extraterrestrial Highway and out on the desert north of Las Vegas with growler in tow. I have to let it out on a lonely stretch of a highway road side park. Next stop, Alamo Nevada for fuel then onto Hwy. 375 (Extraterrestrial Highway). I get a couple of miles
down the road and I see a sign "No fuel Next 150 miles", it was then I saw two ranch hands on the side of the road. They suggested I ride
back 5 miles and top off my tank. I did.

I kept my speed at 60 mph to conserve fuel. 45 miles down the road, I find Rachel, NV and the Little Alien Inn. I pull off and pull up on a bar stool. There are some locals milling around and a guy named Dave playing the guitar making for some nice aviance. I introduce myself to the gentleman sitting to my right; his name is Bill and he has fuel for sale if need be. I told him that I probably could use a gallon since I just filled up 45 miles back in Alamo. He normally sells to tourists 5 gallon jugs for $25.00 but since I'm on a motorcycle he lets me have a gallon for $5 bucks. I top off again, have a Little Alien Burger, a Jack Daniels on ice and take a few pictures. After about an hour, I hit the road. The ride was long, hot and grueling for the next 100 miles. I'm heading west and the sun is beaming down on the horizon. I stop for a
Kodak moment when I feel the urge and mount up and carry on. As dusk approaches and I finally arrive at the next gas stop, Tonopah, Nevada; I pull over and make some calls. I call Robin and tell her that I have just gone down the ET Hwy. and she is elated, knowing that I am a UFO buff. She ask me if I'm tired and reply "Most Definitely" She asked me to get a motel room before traveling on and I agree. I'm looking at a Best Western across the street and that is my current residence.

I plan on riding my final leg into Vallejo, California tomorrow. I'll be going through Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and then my destination.

Day 9 - 10

It's Saturday morning and I'm up and at 'em. Going to find some breakfast and ride across the Sierra Nevada mountains and eventually in to Vallejo. To all my brothers still on the road, RIDE SAFE!

I went from desert conditions to snow all in a days ride. I stopped at that watering hole where I phoned home; right after I hung up a fellow rider pulled up and we introduced ourselves. His name is Rich from Carson City.  He had been down to Laughlin and was going home. I rode with him from just outside of Tonopah on open road. We parted at Carson City. I rode on through and got a picture of masonic FM&AM Lodge #1. in Carson City, Nevada "Is this a fact?"

Before long, I was climbing the high Sierras, all the way to 7200 ft. and snow. I had to get off my bike to actually feel it, to believe it. The progress was slow going through Lake Tahoe but then again, I'd stop for a picture. I stopped and called Robin as I did on all milestones i.e. ET Hwy., Winslow etc. when I peaked and she shared in my celebration. I pulled back onto the highway and almost lost it twice. Once, when I hit the tar substance used for patching asphalt and slid over about a foot. That caused me to over steer and hit some gravel where I had to re-compensate... long story short, God Loves Me.!

I made the twisties back down the mountain and by the time I got to the foothills, I was breezing along about 80. Sacramento was just a blur as I rolled through town. My sights were on Vallejo, California. If there are any masonic brothers in the area, give me a call.

I pulled into the driveway at 9:15 p.m. and broke out the bottle of Jack I had stowed away, left over from last night in Tonopah. The big surprise was that my Uncle Tommy had flown out to meet me here. We sat around for a couple of hours enjoying the moment. Before long it was time to hit the sack.

Day 11

The wake up call came early this morning and I mean literally "Mike, get up" from my California sister at 0800. "They will be here to pick us up in 30 minutes". I choked down a cup of coffee and we loaded up my Pa's truck destined for the Vallejo San Francisco ferry. The boat ride over was nice on a beautiful clear day. Many pictures were taken.

The rest of the day was spent walking all over Alcatraz and hearing over a headset the antics of the last 150 years of convict mischief. No big deal but interesting. I did manage to pick up a piece of "the rock".

We intermittently, covered the lower area of Fisherman's Wharf during and after our ferry boat ride. Me and my uncle Tommy kept getting separated from Pa and Patty. We used the time wisely in the local harbor bars.

Around dusk, we loaded back up on the ferry back to Vallejo. Sat around and had a few nightcaps and here I am using my half sister Patty's computer.

I think tomorrow or later today which ever comes first, I am going to just ride around, find a leather shop and have my new patches sewn on. After that, who knows... it's wherever the winds may take me. Maybe Sears Point or the Napa Valley.

Day 12, 13, 14, 15

Hello again. After losing internet service on the 1st of the month, when Patty changed servers, I was left high and dry as far as keeping a
daily journal.

After our day trip to Alcatraz on Monday; Tuesday was spent riding around with Pop and Uncle Tommy seeing the local sites of Vallejo. The evening was topped off at local steak house and back to the house for some refreshments.

On Wednesday we visited the Vallejo Elks Lodge and I renewed friendships made years earlier. I also got my patches sewn on and my bike serviced. The Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle has performed flawlessly.

Thursday I got up and made the ride in to San Francisco and over the Golden gate Bridge where I took a lot of pictures with all the Chinese; they really are a friendly group of people. I rode back up Highway 1 through Stinson Beach and on to the Point Reyes National Park. There's a lighthouse on the coastal side of the park but it's a 20 mile twisty ride to get there. I made the decision to go for it. Little did I know that once I got to the area where the lighthouse is situated, I'd have to get off and walk about a mile to the actual lighthouse. I had to walk down and then back up 302 steps of a steep incline. I had to stop a couple of times on the way back up for a breather. I bet there have been plenty of heart attacks undertaking this adventure. Nonetheless, I took many more pictures. I think I'm well over the thousand mark on my camera by now.

Since I was planning to attend the Naval #87 Masonic Lodge at 6:30, I had to lay some miles down on the return trip. I caught on to lane splitting by following a local biker back on Hwy. 37 going back to Vallejo. I made it back with around 30 minutes to spare. Pops backed out on going to lodge with me, he wasn't feeling up to it, so I went alone and had a great time. The Worshipful Master called me to the east where I was recognized and I took the opportunity to promote the Free Masons Riding Club. I think we have a couple of potential new members from that lodge.

My cousin, Butch Stephens and his lady, Victoria was waiting for me when I got back home from lodge. He lives in Carlisle, California and drove up to see me. We stayed up late talking about the times we'd missed out on being together since we lived worlds apart. More pictures were taken and according to the pictures, I think we could have been twins at one time in our life. He's 6 months older than
me. After he and Victoria left, my dad and I sat up until after midnight talking about the weeks events.

This morning (Friday, May 4th) I got up and packed my gear. I mailed home some souvenirs and my boots... they were just taking up too much space. I left Vallejo and hit the I-5 South towards Los Angeles and broke left at Bakersfield... I rode from Vallejo to Barstow, California today and it was cold most of the way. It got even colder as I was traveling through some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. They are all in the Tehachapi Mountain Range including Bear Mt. Elev. 6895', Cummings Mt. Elev. 7753', Tehachapi Summit 4064', Double Mt.. 7988'. When I hit the Mojave Desert, it was a long high speed grind... I just prayed for smooth sailing and I got it. Even the rains stayed off in the distance. The winds started to blow strong as I got into Barstow. The whole city is covered with a cloud of dust and dirt. I couldn't put my hands on my goggles, so my eyes took a hit on the last leg after dark.

Tomorrow, I'll ride back into Arizona through the badlands.

Day 16

Got up this morning and headed out the door around 10'ish. I left Barstow, California and rode hard through Needles then Kingman, Arizona and the Mojave Desert with the wind to my back for the most part. The rain could be seen in the distance but I-40 always turned between the storms... just like I like it.  The mountains are a sight to behold and I soaked in every mile.  I took a short break at a desert rest stop and ventured out into the wilds.  I found a cool looking rock that is black and has millions of sparkles in it.  I totally don't know what it is but I like it.

I checked in to the Days Inn in Williams, AZ. They gave me the key to a room for $70. I opened the door and hear some screams... it was an elderly couple... I apologized and they calmed down. "Not your fault, mate". It was a couple with a tour from Australia. I promptly returned to the front desk and they upgraded me to the executive suite. "SWEET" Nice view of my bike from here, two big beds, mini bar (which I don't need because I'm prepared), fridge, microwave, premium channels, big sofa and large bathroom. I broke it in with a growler.

I have made friends with several of the locals, one of which has a teething baby about 3 months old. I just got back from a trip to the Safeway for some Ora-Jel, since the mom has to work and the father is rocking the baby. The baby couldn't handle the tooth.  Mom and dad are now in a much better mood.

Went outside in the 38 degree weather to have a smoke and met a guy named Jeff from down under (the tour). The baby's daddy, Justin was hanging around, so I asked Jeff if they used the same words for a piss in Australia and he said yes... how about a dump?" I asked. "Yes, the same" he replied. "Have you ever heard of a growler" I pressed on. "No mate". I gave him the definition and both of them laughed their ass off. I don't think they'll soon forget. I told them about the growler competition Bear and me had in the Smokies and they had another good laugh, as it defined a howl from a bark.

I'm planning on taking the tour of the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

Day 17

I got an early start today. I'm going to pack my gear and leave it locked in the lobby storage room until I get back from the Grand Canyon. The high today is 61 degrees, so I'd better get a move on before I get caught on the road when they begin to go back down... it's a sunny day in Williams.

I rode out to the Grand Canyon today. Walked around on the south face and even got off the beaten path to where I got within 3 or 4 feet of the edge... pretty good rush but I needed more. I decided to go for a helicopter ride. I inquired at the local airport and business was booming with tour buses. I got in line behind a group of about 12 foreigners and after a few minutes, it was my turn. I asked the ticket agent how much for the shortest tour. He tried to confuse me and barked out $175.00. "That's not good enough" I said. At the same time I
produced my AARP card and I think he got the message. He laughed and the next quote was $125.00... I pulled out my $10.00 off coupon that I got from the hotel and said "I'll take it". My flight was due to take off at 3:00 p.m. giving me an hour to goof off. I called my wife, Robin, Papa and Bear to advise of my upcoming adventure.

The flight was spectacular! I'd bet it puts the Skywalk to shame. We flew all over the canyon and over the Colorado River which offered beathtaking beauty. I made fast friends with a young couple from Munich, Germany, Stephan and Shopia. I could tell she was nervous and reassured her that in 45 minutes she'll be looking back at how much fun it was. We took turns taking each others picture all during the excursion. Before long, the flight turned to a memory.

I hopped back on my bike and headed back to the Days Inn to secure my gear. Once loaded, I put the hammer down riding east. I arrived at Gallup, New Mexico around 9:00 p.m. and am currently assessing tomorrows journey.  It rained and snowed in Gallup today and they are calling for scattered thunder showers for tomorrow.  Looking at all the rain in the forecast, I may be heading south when I get up. It 35 degrees outside right now.

Day 18-19

I left Gallup, NM this morning at the crack of noon. I goofed around town long enough to find some authenic Navajo crafts, made a purchase and hit I-40 East. It was another beautiful sunny day with little wind.

I rode on through Albuquerque and into Grants, New Mexico where I stopped for fuel and a little grub at "Chili Kicks" on Route 66. I asked for a hamburger and the waitress looked at me funny and said "Hamburger?" "Why don't you try the Chimichanga"? "Well, if you insist", I replied. It tasted good but that thing churned in my stomache the rest of the day. I rode around town and found a local bike shop called "Bernies" where I bought a new pair of goggles.. I think I left mine in California somewhere. Skreeech called and we made plans to get together the following evening in San Antonio.

I left Grants after lunch and continued across I-40. I stopped at a rest stop for break after about 90 miles. Maid Marion called to get my mailing address so that they could mail me my Route 66 signs I bought on the way out. I then called Robin. While I was talking to her, a man at the rest stop walked slowly up and was pointing to me and addressing his family.

"Hey, you are the guy from the Grand Canyon" he was saying as he approached. I saw plenty of people and spoke to quite a few. He reninded me that we talked about how folks were afraid to walk up to the fence. I remembered talking to him then. We discussed our recent journies and they wanted to take a picture. I hesitated... NOT. I must say that I have met more than my share of interesting people.

Anyway, I left my new friends and took off for Clines Corners (Elev. 7200'). Clines Corners, New Mexicoi is located on the corner of I-40 and Hwy. 285. I headed down 285 south towards Vaughn and Roswell to avoid running in to bad weather due east.

Now this is open range for sure and plenty of wildlife once you're off the beaten path. I bet I saw at least 12 herds of Antelope... with 30-40 in each herd. This went on for 100 miles. I got so bored that I was blowing my horn at the cattle. Yep. made'em look. 

I was going to fly on through Roswell and shoot for Odessa, Texas until I started to see all the UFO billboards. I pull in to the local Wal Mart for some batteries and the building is decked out in alien paintings, showing them as shoppers. How could I pass this by? I rode to the UFO Museum and it was closed. That meant go find a room and wait until they open in the morning. I did some good comparitive shopping and found a room for $50. with Wi-Fi, of course run by Indians but not the native ones  :)

I got on my bike to go find dinner and ended up next door at a home cooking restuarant. I could have walked over and probably will in the morning.

So, I'm in for the night and am enjoying my trip....while praying for continued good weather.

P.S.  I find it ironic that I rode up the Extraterrestial Hwy on the way out to California and now find myself in Roswell, the reason behind the mystery. This was not the planned return route.

Day 20-21

On Tuesday, I got up to the sounds of rain in Roswell, New Mexico. I crawled back into bed and gave it some time to blow over. It's stopped raining for now but the skies look grey to the south. I think I'll go check out the UFO Museum and hope for the best. I'd like to make San Antonio by bedtime.

I made the tour of the UFO Museum and it was the same thing as seen on TV. I took a few pictures and headed down Hwy. 285 South. This was one of the most desolate roads I have ever been on. Everywhere you looked there were working oil wells. This went on for at least 75 miles. I At times I'd find myself cruising along at 100 mph. The road just went on for miles. I came into to Carlsbad. NM and took a rest stop... well, left a growler. The streets were flooded from recent rain and it was a foot deep at the intersections. The skies begin to clear as I hit Pecos, TX so I came out of the rain suit. It was smoothe sailing all the way into Fort Stockton, TX where I refueled and hit I-10. At this point I was 308 miles from San Antonio.

About 30 miles down I-10 East the skies turned grey and it started raining. Before long lightening started cracking and the winds were blowing me off the road. I pulled over at the first roadside stop and parked my bike under one of those picnic pavillions. I sat there 30 minutes waiting for the storm to pass. I made a couple of calls during this down time to get some weather 411. I called Skreeech and told him to leave the light on. The next 200 miles were the most focused riding of my life. Hydroplaning was a serious problem and I had to slow up and make sure my line was right. Sometimes the best lane would be the passing lane and I'd wave cars around because I was not giving up the prime real estate.

About midnight and 75 miles from San Antonio, I broke through the front and was finally ahead of it. I hammered down until I started seeing deer but that also told me to shed the raingear. Deer won't be out if rain is iminent. I stopped and gassed up, called brother Skreeech and gave him my location.

I over shot the runway when I got to San Antonio and soon found myself in Schertz, TX. I turned around and began to tune in to the Holiday Inn. After about and hour, I found it. It's 3:00 a.m.

Skreeech had waited up for me and we immediately started to catch up on we'd been doing since we seen each other last. We finished off the bottle of 1954 Gold Metal Jaclk Daniels. He turned in an hour ago and I'm still winding down...

I'm crashing!

Later that morning Skreeech got up and went to Lackland as I slept in. He called the room about 11:00 to see if I was ready to go... not hardly. I got up and showered and we met for breakfast at Denny's. After that, I followed Skreeech out of San Antonio and through Houston. We arrived at Skreech's arund 6:00 and needed to be at lodge bt 7:00. We scooped up his wife Kristin and his children Dillon and Brian and went to dinner at a great bbq place near Skreeedhs'. After that it was off to the lodge. They accepted me with open arms and even let me participatge in a Master Mason degree. How cool is that? I met our club member, Tile Daddy is a great masonic brother and he gave me a warm Texas reception.

When we got home, Skreeech was tuckered out and went to bed. I stayed up and drank up all his Miller Lite while I talked to our club Director, Bear on the telephone. We discussed some FMRC Business and soon after, I retired for the night.

This morning I was awakened by the sound of my name "stickman". It was Skreeech rousing me up. "Put on some coffee" I requested and he complied in due form. About 30 minutes later, I was packed and we were on the road to Galveston. Half way there, I remered that I forgot my Glock and we made a u-turn to retrieve it, Back to the Island... we rode down the boulevard and then through town. We pulled up just as the free ferry was leaving for Bolivar Beach. We rode down the penisula all the way to Winnie, Texas. We later stopped and had lunch at one of Skreeech's favorite mexican restaurants in Beaumont. This is where we would part ways. He took I-10 west and I headed east. It was smooth sailing until I hit Baton Rouge at the 5'O'Clock hour. It was a snails pace,,, 1st gear for 4 or 5 miles, then I came to the exit I was looking for. Next stop... the KOA in Baton Rouge.

Todays ride was fantastic. Beautiful sunny weather all the way.

Day 22

I am currently tucked in at a KOA Campground in Baton Rouge, LA and believe it or not, they have wireless internet. I just wish I hadn't lost my reading glasses. Tonight is my required campout night. Robin insisted I do it before I get home... and sure enough there was a love letter and a picture of an alien in my tent bag. God bless her!

I'm sitting in the restaurant pavillian hooked up to the power for the laptop Ashton Blessey so generously donated to me.  Thanks Ashton!

I should be home by tomorrow.  What a glorious trip it has been.