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(North American Reeky Tour)

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.

High Plains Thumper's write up for his Colorado City trip
It has limited bandwidth so you may need to try back occasionally until you can reach it.

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.

The weather records for Colorado City that day shows:

Temp (min/max): 60°/95°
Humidity: 94%
Wind Speed (max/gusts): 15/20 mph

The data for a couple of the towns east of Colorado City show that the gusts I was feeling are far below many I've ridden in before. Maybe it was the shorty windshield. Maybe the severe weather was somewhere else along the way.

Temp (min/max): 69°/89°
Humidity: 100%
Wind Speed (max/gusts): 21/26 mph
Temp (min/max): 72°/90°
Humidity: 93%
Wind Speed (max/gusts): 23/29 mph

Clearly it wasn't the wind records that caused the closures. Those numbers might be interesting to the people in Florida though. They're always complain that people "out west" don't understand hot summers because our's is a "dry heat". Heck, boy, it ain't even summer ou'chear yet!

Arriving within 3 minutes of my estimated time, I parked my 2003 FJR1300 in front of Mi Ranchito.

Tim Krietz pulls in not long afterwards.
Rumor has it that Tim made the trip in under an hour...

Tim and his 2003 Kawasaki ZX7R in front on Mi Ranchito - only 5 hours until they open...

George Hostler next to his 1987 Suzuki LS650 Savage.
Tim gears up to look for another place to have lunch.

George gearing back up. Note the sign in the background.
"When the 'Open' sign is upside down, we ain't open!"

George and Tim with the NART shirts after finishing lunch.

George and I with the NART shirts.

The GPS when I got home. Add a little over 26 miles to the total. I was that far into the trip before I remembered to reset the trip computer. At least 30 minutes of the "Stopped Time" was out in front of Mi Ranchito because I didn't turn off the GPS. "Stopped Time" and "Total Time" include all gas stops but not the break for lunch.

Total miles round trip: 460
NART: 230 miles

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.

The first stop of the day was at the Ft. Worth Water Garden. This week marked the 1 year anniversary of the tourists who drowned here after swimming in the pool/water fall. Since that time the garden was closed and even now, after re-opening, remains drained and devoid of all water. The family sued the city and the case was settled out of court. Clearly the family didn't appreciate being reminded that some people are too stupid to live. The city added large signs at each entrance (shown here) with the reminder, "NO Swimming or Wading".

I mean, after all, it's not like anyone should be expected to read the other signs that were already posted at each entrance (background bronze plaque mounted to the wall).

After all, those words aren't in red or anything. How can the city expect people to pay attention to them?

The next place we went was to the Ft. Worth Masonic Temple. Built in 1931 and designed by Wiley G. Clarkson, it sits on a domanate hillside in south west Ft. Worth. Although the temple is of the Classical Moderne Phase of the Art Deco era, it shows elements of other architectural styles. A grand exterior staircase extends from Henderson Street up to the front door. The building shape itself is a ziggurat form with the top of the ziggurat becoming a greek temple with a flat roof. The columns on this upper portion of the temple are of the ionic order, yet the plan of the building is in the Beaux Arts style. The exterior material is Indiana Limestone. The interior of the temple has remained virtually unchanged over the years.

Next on the agenda was a trip to the Zoo.

Bidding a fond farewell to the Zoo, the next whistle stop was the Botanical Garden.

Then a leasurely lunch at the "Four Star Coffee Bar". Proof that there really are good coffee shops around in spite of Starbucks' plan for world domination. Great coffee, whole beans to go, an excellent chicken salad sandwich, and free internet access even if you don't have a laptop with you. A big thumbs up!

Next NART got up close and personal with the Cattle Raisers Museum.

On up the road a ways, was a photo-op with the Tarrant County Courthouse. Because of parking, the back is the easiest view to grab.

The front is probably the most well known side but a photo like this has to be taken in the middle of the road from several blocks away.

What trip to Ft. Worth is complete without a stop at the Stock Yards?

Followed by an up-close and person brush with Billy Bob's: "The world's biggest honkey tonk".

NART: 52 miles
96° F, 50% RH


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