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Been going to COTA MotoGP and combining it with a few days of riding the Texas hill Country to shake off the Minnesota winters. Usually I throw a bike in the back of the truck and head down, but this year at the end of March a 1098R showed up on Ebay out of Austin. Been looking for one of these for a few years, but unlike most buyers who want pristine gem like bikes, I tend to prefer ones a bit moist around the edges. I collect bikes, but have no interest in garage queen static displaying the bikes I own. I try to put at least 300 miles a year on everything I own so I try to avoid ultra low mile bikes. I also like my bikes to work properly which means unless a seller can give me proof of service and tuning by a shop that I'm familiar with, I'm going to do a full service and have Lofgren tune it, so a recent service can be a negative. Got a magical painter so the need for a bit of paint work doesn't bother me either. The 1098R on Ebay fits the bill well. 12K miles some slight tip over damage, "ready to ride" and the seller will hold the bike till I get to Austin. No shipping costs! Winner, winner chicken dinner. I drive down to Austin empty, planning to ride the 1098R when I get to Texas.



In the flesh, no big surprises. The good, the bike has some nice aftermarket riser bars on it and comes with current TX tag. The bad, about a half dozen fairing screws missing, rear tire is plugged and it won't start! Cranks over fine, but won't fire, the seller is getting nervous swearing that it started and ran fine and has been sitting on a battery tender up until I showed up. After cranking it for a while, we decide to put it on a charger to make sure it isn't somehow a weak battery. Nope, that isn't it. It takes 3 things for a bike to run, air, spark and gas. Open the fuel cap up. No gas. Put some gas in it and we're good to go.

First stop, Alpine to ride Big Bend NP the next day. On the way I go through some torrential downpour with hail. Never thought I'd be thankful that a 1098R has a plastic tank. Off loading the bike in Alpine, I set about making sure it is ready to ride. Fill the tank with gas, mount a ring for a tank bag on the tank, wire power to the tank bag, check the tire pressures, adjust the chain, put a Sargent seat on it that I already had. Hmmm, one of the bolts that hold the seat down isn't screwed in at all! I give a much closer look over, but everything looks good.I ride it around the block and it seems fine. We'll see for sure the next day.

Beautiful morning out on the road on the way to Big Bend. After a dozen or so miles of normal speeds, everything seems good. The road stretches to the horizon and I progressively open it up. It is 80 miles from Alpine to Big Bend, Suspension needs to be adjusted to my weight, but otherwise everything works I get to Big Bend in less than an hour. Guess everything is mechanically fine.



At the end of my visit, the current TX tag comes in handy. A park ranger catches me at 70+, the limit in the park is 45. I not only have a current TX tag, but also have a MN temp registration and current proof of insurance for the bike with me. He lets me go, but declines to let me take a picture of the pull over. He's the first park ranger I've ever seen wearing a bullet proof vest. The west is clearly still wild in certain parts. To celebrate I hit a higher top speed on the way back to Alpine. Yep everything is mechanically fine. 365 miles for the day.

Next stop Kerrville

 

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On the scenic way to Kerrville some things I've been noticing come together at a stop in Sanderson. Built up late model Vettes in Alpine, a Ferrari F430 in Marathon, a number of LEOs running radar in remote areas, the Big Bend Open Road Race is running this weekend. The road between Sanderson and Ft. Stockton is closed. The race sees guys averaging as high as 160+ for the roughly 60 mile distance with the fastest cars hitting 200+ along the route. Along with the Silver State Classic Challenge, I guess this makes the west America's equivalent of the Isle of Mann.

I stop in Langtry at the Roy Bean saloon/courthouse site.



Visiting the museum, you have to wonder whether it is time for the saloon courthouse with a judge who pockets the fines is coming back. Independent justice defined. I run into a rider from Nova Scotia. He sees the story of Judge Bean as emblematic of America.

Down the road a bit is an overlook of the Pecos River and the U.S./Mexico border. Here's the shot from my 2016 trip.



The shot from yesterday



Hard to imagine a wall stretching across the landscape here.

Over lunch in Del Rio, I speak with some local Hispanics about going over to Acuna (Mexico). Their comment is they do it all the time, just got to watch out for traffic coming back into the U.S. Sometimes the border crossing backs up for an hour or two. Earlier in the day I spoke with some local gringos in Sanderson about going over to Acuna. Their reply was to talk about how the chief of police had been beheaded by the cartel and his head placed in the town plaza a while back. What the heck is the truth?

Day ends in Kerrvile. Back in a relatively large town, $10 worth of metric screws and some washers and all the missing screws are temporarily replaced. Have to wonder, who loses this many bodywork screws on their bike? It will be interesting to see swhat I find when I take the bodywork off when I get home.

Time to go ride the Twisted Sisters.
 

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I just missed you, I did all of that route just last week. Including the Judge Roy Bean stop. Did the Twisted Sisters, then Del Rio, Alpine, Terlingua, Presidio, etc.



Oh and yes, when I had a 1098 I lost bodywork screws all the friggin time. Mostly from the bellypan.
 

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Hello

Your truck looks extremely fast with that payload.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just missed you, I did all of that route just last week. Including the Judge Roy Bean stop. Did the Twisted Sisters, then Del Rio, Alpine, Terlingua, Presidio, etc.
....
Was the Lajitas to Presidio ride worthwhile? I skipped it as afternoon storms were coming in and I was unimpressed by the Terlingua to Lajitas segment.
 

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Ahhh the Twisted Sisters today. Now we get to turns. Man, am I rusty. The bike doesn't help either. Too entertaining to lunge out of the turns, but definitely not smooth, so not fast.

After some twisties my route takes me to the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum which of course is closed. Not a reason to ride the Twisted Sisters but after going past the museum maybe half a dozen times over the years, sooner or later I going to get to see it. Today was not the day as it was closed.



Down the road we go. I always forget how twisty the road really is. The warning sign on 337 says 13 motorcylists killed since 2006. The sign on 336 says 8 killed.



Didn't notice a sign on 335. I wonder if the signs have had their intended effect. At least no change since last year on 336.



About 255 miles today. Bringing my total on the bike to 620. After tomorrow, the total should be about 900 miles added to a bike with 12K gets me to around 13K. No big deal. Just don't get the obsession with buying low mileage mint bikes. A riding experience on a great bike or a jewel sitting in your garage, the choice is obvious to me.
 

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Was the Lajitas to Presidio ride worthwhile? I skipped it as afternoon storms were coming in and I was unimpressed by the Terlingua to Lajitas segment.
Absolutely that section is worth it. I rode out a few yrs ago and that road was a hoot. Twisty, scenic and with camel humps that take some serious balls to not lift off the gas. I had so much fun that I turned around and did it twice, camped out along the river (pic) and went back to Presidio for the most awesome Mexican breakfast. Seriously, that road rivals the best of what we have here in CA.

On my way back to LA, I ended up taking 118 to see what it was like. It pales in comparison, I regretted my decision.
 

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Fun stuff man. Good story and a great trip. I love stuff like this... Next time maybe fly down? Imagine the ride up home... I'm hoping to take a couple good trips out myself this summer.
 

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Over lunch in Del Rio, I speak with some local Hispanics about going over to Acuna (Mexico). Their comment is they do it all the time, just got to watch out for traffic coming back into the U.S. Sometimes the border crossing backs up for an hour or two. Earlier in the day I spoke with some local gringos in Sanderson about going over to Acuna. Their reply was to talk about how the chief of police had been beheaded by the cartel and his head placed in the town plaza a while back. What the heck is the truth?
I heard the same when I was living in El Paso for a while. Except even most of the American born or long time immigrants were afraid of Ciudad Juarez. Really too bad. Twenty years ago the school district I worked for used the border proximity as a recruiting tool. Live and work in the states, but party for cheap in Juarez!" Not anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Played tourist today. Taking in the carpets of wildflowers



Enchanted Rock



and Lukenbach



Willie was nowhere to be found but there were 30 or more 3 wheelers of every stripe. Can Am, Slingshot, converted dressers/cruisers and Wings. It was frightening (especially the thought that I'm well on my way to the age and condition of the folks who were riding them).

Must be my bad karma. Down the road I suffered my first "mechanical" failure. I had been watching the fuel mileage the entire trip. Seeing anywhere from high 20s to mid 30s. Fuel warning light seemed to work fine. Leaving Lukebach I knew I was getting low, but since the warning light hadn't come on I took the 17 mile longer route to gas.... I ran out of gas 6 miles short.... Of course as soon as the bike stopped running, while I was rolling to a stop the low fuel warning light came on.

No big deal. Got a ride into town and got a service station to run me out with gas to the bike. 270 miles today, so the total for the 3 days of riding was 890, total on the bike is now a bit over 13K. Found out some of the history of the bike from AMS today. They sold it new and did a full service on it at 9300 miles 5 years ago. Nice to know.

Next stop Austin.
 
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