N.A.R.T, as described in more detail at the main web page, is a relay that has taken a pair of t-shirts all over the contiguous US, Hawaii and parts of Canada. While moving the t-shirt around, participants in the Usenet news group rec.motorcycles (aka: Reeky) have been brought together to meet face to face after years of "talking" using their computers. With the first annual NART Party quickly approaching, the shirts found themselves with George Hostler in Clovis, NM. and needed a ride to the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area for the party. A few e-mails and George, Tim Krietz of Midland, TX, and I were ready to meet on Saturday, 6/4/05, in Colorado City, TX. Why Colorado City? No reason other than it was the midway point between George and I (about 250 miles for each of us) while being about 100 miles from Tim.
Plains Thumper's write up for his Colorado City trip
Leaving at about 8:10 A.M., I hooked it west with the MP3 player set on stun and the speedometer set to Ludicrous Speed. Traffic was light to non-existent and the temperature was perfect. A very light drizzle was soon a memory and the trip ran like clockwork.
Pulling in to Mi Ranchito, our arranged meeting place, I was surprised to find it was not much more than a small house with hand painted signs. Things were looking up! These small town holes-in-the-wall can often have the best eaitin' you'll ever find. After dismounting and looking around, I was disappointed to find that the restaurant didn't open until 5 P.M. Oh well, adapt and compromise.
Less than 15 minutes later Tim came rolling in. I explained the scheduling problem as we waited for George. Seeing our bikes outside, several vehicles pulled in hoping Mi Ranchito was open and serving. You could see the disappointment in their faces when they learned it was just some biker trash killing time in the parking area. Tim and I agreed that this was a good enough endorsement to justify a return trip when the restaurant was open. At one point the owner of the place pulled up and chatted with us for a few minutes; inviting us back later that night to drink margaritas with them. When I told them that they would have to put me up for the night since I don't drink and ride, they pointed to a corner of the side lot (over by the barn) and said they provided wheel barrow service to their customers who needed it. Not only do their customers start lining up at the first hint of the doors opening, but the owners are great folks with a sense of humor. We were batting a thousand (if you don't count being there 5 hours too early).
George came pulling in on his Savage a couple of minutes after noon and barely had a chance to dismount before we explained to him the problem. Since the temperature had started to rise, we loaded back onto the bikes and headed out to find a place for lunch that had air conditioning. Back east, on south side of 2nd Street (Business 20), we found a place called Garcia's that gave us the biggest table in the place to accommodate the three of us and all our gear. First thing's first and tall, cold glasses of ice tea were knocked back while we waited for our meals. Everyone reported that their meal choices were choice while we spent the next 2 hours getting to know our long-time friends. Military stories, work histories and histrionics, tales of daring do, and yarns were woven until finally we had to break away for our return trips. Tim, very graciously, picked up the check for everyone. George and I hugely over tipped to make ourselves useful and to recognize the service as well as the staff's lack of concern about us using their largest table for as long as we did.
We signed the shirts while in the dining room, took some more pictures out by the bikes, tore ourselves away from the great time we were having, and headed toward 3 points of the compass. My return trip was hot, the traffic was heavier, and the enforcement officials were as thick as flies. Remind me to give Mike Valentine a hug the next time I see him. His little wonder box always returned a ping at least seconds before the CB shouted out a warning to all who might be listening.
Pulling in to the garage, I unpacked the bike, hung up my gear, and headed to the fridge for a tall cold glass of water. The new Wilbers suspension was great after adjusting the sag the night before. What had seemed like an overly stiff front end, turned out to be spot on. The back that felt "okay", at first blush, was actually twice as "saggy" as it should have been (80mm). A few minutes adjusting the preload to 40mm sag (with rider) made things right on the money.
It was a great lunch ride of about 460 miles (round trip) for me. I got to meet 2 of the folks I've been chatting with on Reeky for all these years. The NART shirts are closer to the finish line with a few plans for some local trips before the party. It's hard to ask for a more perfect day.
Hours later I learned that the entire area I rode through on the way home was hit with severe storm warnings, flash flood watches, and wind advisories. It looks like the door snapped shut behind me. That would explain all the wind. The National Weather Service reported that Colorado City reached a high of 95° F, which would explain why we appreciated the air conditioning in Garcia's. You people coming to the NART Party in July should be taking notes.
With the NART shirts in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I figured it was my duty to show them around the town. Heading out for a whirlwind tour of some of the places in Ft. Worth was the first order of business. After all, everyone knows you don't spend time in Dallas unless you have to. It was a clear, sunny day with the promise of warm June-in-Texas temperatures, so an early start was called for. Loading up the shirts, the camera, and little else, I hit the road at the crack of 10:00 A.M.
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