Motorcycle Trip – October 12th 2007 – Mineral Wells area Texas
I took Friday off so I started the trip alone at about 2:15PM on Friday. I took the back roads through Fort Worth from Euless. Hwy 10 to Belknap is a fairly nice ride especially when you catch all of the stop lights green. Once riding on Belknap things started to go very slow due to inner city traffic and school zones until out of town on 1886 and 730 south. Both 1886 and 720 are very easy roads to ride and a bit scenic for Texas flat lands. If you’re from out of the area over 200 miles I would not travel all the way here for this road trip.
The actual roads taken: Hwy 10 west to Belknap (Hwy 10 changes names a few times and Belknap is the final name on this trip). 377 (Denton Hwy) north to Broadway west to Long Avenue west to Jacksboro Hwy north to 1886 west to 730 south to 180 East to Hwy 20 west to exit 408 in Weatherford.
Due to a big wedding in Mineral Wells we decided to set up base camp in Weatherford. I found us a room at the Comfort Suites Hotel. Philip and Paul where going to execute plan F and ride up Friday night. The reason I say plan F is that we had so many contingency plans and base plan changes that it became hard to keep track. Plan A was to camp at the Mineral Wells state park originally talked about by Kelly another friend. He did not know when this would happen just that it would. Another plan was for another rider friend (aka TC) to join us for the weekend run and yet another plan was to use hotels instead of camping. Taking the equipment to camp would have been logistically hard without Kelly and his bike trailer and we only had two weekends in October when we could pull this off so we had to not count on the first plan of camping. TC could not make it either as he had other things going so could not get it all together in time for a go decision. The final decision had to be made at 11AM on Friday (the same day I was planning on leaving) if he was going to go or not so I could make hotel accommodations. As it turned out I decided to wing it instead of setting up reservations. Now that would have been a mistake if my target was Mineral Wells as Mineral Wells was the target location. I called a couple of hotels in Mineral Wells early in the week and that is when I learned of the big wedding going on. Mineral Wells is a small town.
I stopped at this little gas station on 730 and ran across a nice young lady who had her child running around in diapers. The store did not have much of a selection and most of the shelves were empty. I expect that place will not be open much longer. I asked her if she knew of a place near by where I could get a burger and beer and she said “you can get the burger here but this is a dry county”. My heart just about stopped so I asked more questions like “what about a Chilies or something”. She said oh, yes there is one not to far from here and that she thought I meant a dive. She did not finish the last word but I knew what she was thinking. I standing in front of her with my motorcycle stuff on, a lot of people get the idea that we (motorcyclists) do not enjoy or can afford a little class in our lives. After further discussion while I am drinking my Gatorade she tells me I can also pick up beer down a ways on Hwy 20. I take the route to Hwy 20 since I was told from the intersection of 730 and 180 by a couple in a pickup truck that taking 180 East to 20 is the fastest way. They did not mention west to 51 then north to 20 and am I glad they did not mention that as the traffic there would have been hell as I later learned. I had to ask them since I really did not think the young women with the child at the small store really had all of the oars in the water. Anyway I was able to locate beer and knew I was not far from some decent hotels. I had too much stuff on my bike to buy beer at this time so I headed west on 20 to find a room I ran across a hotel corridor at exit 408 and Hwy 20 and went to a couple different hotels and found the Comfort Suites Hotel was priced fair and was clean.
The Comfort Suites Hotel was fairly good but the hot tube did not work so that took a great deal of the Comfort out of the stay. We sleep well both nights however and the room was clean and Paul was able to once again eat them out of house and home for the morning free breakfast. It was located right next to Hwy 20 and 51 which was a traffic hell in Weatherford. The cost was $109 with two beds and a pull out for the third person.
At the hotel, Left to right Paul and Philip.
After unloading the bike and getting settled in I headed back East on 20 to get beer. The trip was only 6 miles. As I was leaving I saw a fire truck and police car heading West on 20 and then the traffic heading west stopped. I thought that when I go to return back to the hotel I would be stuck in traffic forever and would end up drinking all of the beer, NOT! But I would have had a couple someplace on the side of the road. Well the police must have cleared the problem in record time because by the time I ran 6 miles at 65 or 70 MPH and started back Hwy 20 west bound was cleared. I have beer for all three of us loaded up and forgot poor Paul drinks Coors Light instead of Miller Light. He was able to suffer this one night however. I of course drink good beer, Budweiser and I did remember that.
By the time Philip and Paul started to leave I was starving so I went to BK Steak house (Burger King) and grabbed a burger and fries to go and ate in the Gazebo at the hotel with one of my newly purchased cold beers.
Philip and Paul arrive some time after about 7PM so we head to Chilies so they can have some dinner. People out in these smaller town areas are so great to deal with.
As usual I am the first one up and I get some coffee and await the sleeping beauties Philip and Paul. Philip gets up followed by Paul, it seems we all eat individually in the morning as there is sometime between each persons wake up time. We do not run by a clock on these bike runs and that is ok by me as I like to take my time getting ready anyway. When Philip sets his mind on something he really is hard to sway away from it. Friday night he kept talking about Hwy 20 to Hwy 4 and I kept saying lets take the back roads further south then ride up Hwy 4. Well we stopped at this gas station for a break and sure enough he talked to someone who said we should stay on 20 until we hit 4. We later learned that we would have got more scenery by going further south then north on 20 but that is Philip. We head on 20 for a few more miles until we hit Hwy 4 and then the fun begins. Of course I had to give him crud stating that I would not get off back roads again on this trip. Running at 65 and above is too much work and not a lot of sight seeing. Hwy 4 turns out to be a great trip and we again stop at a gas station for a break and a guy in the station suggests we take 4 north to 180 then west to 16 north then catch 4 again back south. That turns out to be a great suggestion and we found a cool spot to stop.
Under an old bridge that you do not realize your on from the top.
A shot at Possum Kingdom Lake Dam
We planned to stop at some choke and pukes around Possum Kingdom lake but for what ever reason we passed all of the roads leading us right to the lake. So when we got to Mineral Wells we decided to stop at a place called Lonestar Bar and Grill which my food sucked and Philip and Paul who have plebian tastes liked their Chicken Fried Stakes. I jokingly told them I would not BBQ for them ever again since if they would eat and like that junk, their complements on my cooking would not mean anything. The beer was real cold but I ordered a Hamburger steak and maybe I have been spoiled by the likes of my own cooking and a few good steak houses as what I got was two dried up Burger King style burger patties with finely diced onions that must have been sitting in butter all day. The fries were the worse I ever ate and both Philip and Paul liked them. They were soggy undercooked (most likely micro waved) things that resembled the look of French fries.
Here is a picture of the place we choked.
One of our plans was to join a BBQ in Mineral Wells with a bunch of other bikers at their biker club. They call themselves the “Last Ones” I think since most of them are older then us. We call ourselves the “Ole Boars” as most of us are over 40 and I am 51. Anyway it turns out the BBQ is at 5PM not 3PM like I thought and the one thing we did notice was many wild Boars dead on the side of Hwy 4 and 16. We thought better then to ride at night after a BBQ, drinking a few beers, and being tired from our 140 mile ride we already put in. So we called Kelly and told him we would not be joining the BBQ and headed East back towards Weatherford. We started going into down town Weatherford as it is a quaint little town with a bunch of stuff to see and do but the traffic was horrible. Man it really stunk so then we saw Hwy 51 and thought that would get us out of the down town traffic and were we wrong. We got hung up at a couple of intersections right near hwy 20 which was killer getting through. The only good thing about it was that we popped right out at exit 408 on Hwy 20 which is where we were staying.
Philip told us of a turn called dead mans turn that others told him about. We did hit some nice curves but I was left looking for this sharp curve with no warning. He also mentioned some steep hills that we could expect; I can tell he has never seen a real mountain or even a decent hill. I expect I will get a bunch of "crumb" for this paragraph if and when he reads this.
Once back at the hotel we decide to shower and go to Chilies for dinner. Philip decides he as a short cut to get there that almost gets us killed because of the traffic. He darts across the intersection and Paul and I decide to turn right and see if there is a back road in to Chilies. Paul did find one that worked out good. Meanwhile Philip is at Chilies waiting for us and declares we just need to get our noses out there and go for it. My 51 years of age does not agree with such ideas on a motorcycle, car yes, motorcycle no.
We get back to the Hotel and sure enough the hot tub still does not work but to the touch it felt a little warmer then the surrounding air so Paul and I suit up to go into it. Philip tells us we will find it too cold once in swim trunks but we decide to venture onward. Well Philip was right; I stuck my feet in the water and said to dang cold. So back to the room I went and took a nice hot shower.
Once again I am up first and this time they really take their time getting up. So by 830 or so I decide to turn on the TV to see if I can muster them up. It worked and once again Paul cleaned the hotel out of breakfast food. We decided to take 730 north to Boyd which is on the west side of Eagle Mountain Lake. Once again the word mountain is used in the state of Texas, not sure if the founder of the lake ever saw a real mountain. Anyway it was a very nice ride to Boyd and then on 114 east towards home. The trip was about 85 miles back home but it went faster then the 55 miles it took me to get to Weatherford. On way back we stopped at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) to have a couple of beers that we brought with us and watch what ever was going on. There was not much really going on so we parked next to a shower facility and just talked about our trip and the next one we have yet to plan, now that is an oxymoron with us. When we started to leave TMS Paul’s bike did not want to start. He has built it to go fast and that we did not really do so we think it got some carbon build up. Once we got on the fast part of 114 and 121 he stepped on it and it started running better.
We did make it to town and we did stop for our end of trip beer at Dukes Road house. This is our second road trip staying in the same hotel room and riding together for a weekend with no arguments or problems, a lot of jokes and such but we had a good time so I guess we are very compatible bikers and friends which is hard to find. Kelly for example is a good friend but he likes to ride long, fast, and hard which would not suit us very well. It really is hard to find folks that you can ride with comfortably and get along with in such tight quarters for very long.
A shot at Possum Kingdom Dam from the old bridge.
Philip and Paul near the bridge where someone was living. In Pauls hand is a Gord we found growing up the bridge concrete support.
Kicking back at the hotel Gazebo.
Another Picture I wanted to remember
Another picture I wanted to keep.
This is a picture of Philip and Paul while we rested at TMS for a cold beer and a rest.
At Duke's Road House, this is our traditional stop after a weekend run. This is Paul and I left to right.
Paul and Philip at Dukes