Saturday, May 16, 2015
Ghost Town Series: Toyah School and Chata Ortega's from Fandango (Episode #52)
In this episode of Tim Kreitz Adventures, we ride deeper into the West Texas desert than in any previous installment and get a little more than we bargain for in the semi-ghost town of Toyah. We end the day at a nearby ruin which has become known as Chata Ortega's. Both of these sites were filming locations for one of my favorite movies of all time, the 1985 cult classic film Fandango starring Kevin Costner and Judd Nelson. Along the way, we visit a busy train bridge on the Pecos River. Click the play button and ride along.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THIS EPISODE:
Creepy incident at Toyah aside, this ride and shoot was one of the most enjoyable for me so far in the ghost town series. But behind the scenes I was quietly mourning the loss of my dear friend Eric Teel who had passed away earlier in the week due to complications from heart surgery. Eric had been part of my life since about the time the movie Fandango was released, and he and I –– along with several other close friends in our immediate circle –– formed our own version of The Groovers that, unlike in the movie, has stayed largely intact for the past 30 years. Eric was only 47 years old at the time of his passing and his loss came as a shock to us all. That loss –– so heavy in my heart and mind –– punctuated the importance of the Toyah motorcycle trip for me, since it featured places used in the very movie which reflects Eric's and my friendship in so many ways.
For me, the deepest beauty of Fandango as a piece of filmmaking has always been the movie's near-perfect depiction of paradigm shift; specifically, that exact moment when a young man realizes he is no longer a child and must let go of childish things. During the chapter of my life when I began to experience some of those same revelations, Eric had been there with me. In fact, our resemblance to characters in the movie is pretty astounding as I view that time of our lives through the window of youthful, idealistic memories. I was the indecisive and insecure Waggener; not sure of where I was going in life and somewhat self-loathing (traits I still deal with at times as a middle-aged man). Eric was Dorman; the serene, gentle giant who quietly stood guard over his friends with absolute admiration and loyalty. In fact, every person in our real-life iteration of The Groovers eerily reflected characters in the movie someway or another. If there was ever a time when art imitated life, it was when Kevin Reynolds came to my neck of the woods with his film crew and seemingly made a movie about me and my friends. That's one of the reasons Fandango remains one of my favorite and most relatable movies. The nostalgia it invokes for me goes far deeper than the film itself.
Nostalgia, however, is not always a good thing. I have a tendency to indulge way too much in memories of the past, and the loss of Eric poses a definite challenge for me not to delve too deeply into sentimental thoughts of the "good old days". I think the trick is to remember and enjoy the past, but to always keep moving forward; to make tomorrow's memories even better than today's and yesterday's. We should remember the past but not live in it. In doing so, we take the spirit of lost loved ones with us, using the blessings and love they once gave us to help brighten –– not only our own futures, but –– the futures of those around us.
Rest in peace, Eric. We will meet again someday in splendor.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
The Million Barrel Museum • Monahans, Texas (Episode #51)
Britt returns to Tim Kreitz Adventures and rides with me to the small West Texas town of Monahans, where we eat Mexican chop steaks at Fermin's Restaurant, then ride our bikes through a century old, one-million-barrel oil tank. Come join us!
Friday, April 03, 2015
Exploring Webb Air Base, Hangar 18, and Moss Creek Lake in Big Spring, Texas
I take full advantage of another beautiful spring day and head to the nearby town of Big Spring, Texas, where I explore the remnants of Webb Air Force Base and the prison that now occupies much of the property. I also show you one of the filming locations for the movie Hangar 18. Finally, I ride around Moss Creek Lake and take in the sights before heading home. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 02, 2015
"Flowers in the Odessa Meteor Crater" - Tim Kreitz Adventures (Episode #49)
I ride to a West Texas meteor crater in the remote expanses of Ector County to find it filled with spring wildflowers. It's sometimes fun when you experience something completely different from what you expect.
Friday, March 27, 2015
"Alone in the Badlands" - Tim Kreitz Adventures (Episode #48)
Some days I just pick a direction to see where I'll end up. On this ride, I headed farther into the desert badlands of West Texas than I have ventured alone in a long time. Silence, seclusion, and self-awareness were the results.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Tim Kreitz Adventures #47: Initiating Confrontations With Motorists
I take a ride to a creepy wildlife preserve. Along the way, I share some footage from the band's last tour leg and then opine on the idiocy of motorcycle vloggers who intentionally initiate confrontations with motorists.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Tim Kreitz Adventures #45 - The Old Iron Bridge Near Horsehead Crossing
Britt, Clif, and I head for a forgotten location on the Pecos River; an old bridge that was the location of the Creed Fisher and the Redneck Nation Band video for "You Shoulda' Been A Redneck". The bridge was also home to a nefarious event in the '70s involving murder and deception. Enjoy the ride!
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THIS ADVENTURE
We fought strong winds the entire day on this ride. The audio reflects it in a few places; most prominently during Britt's story in the brush. Sorry for the wonky audio there. Cheers.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Tim Kreitz Adventures #44: Rattlesnake Bomber Base • Pyote, Texas
Valentine's Day 2015 finds Britt and I heading into the West Texas Badlands to visit the ruins of a World War II bomber base near Pyote, Texas. Along the way, we grab some lunch, visit a century old graveyard, and discuss Britt's dad's involvement in the D-Day invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THIS ADVENTURE
Those of you who are longtime patrons of The Superbike Blog will remember that we made almost this exact same ride to Pyote six years ago with our friend David, who we lost to cancer in 2010. Though this return trip was definitely a fun ride and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the day, I couldn't help but dwell on the lingering memories of Dave with every destination.
The sense of Dave's absence wasn't lost on Britt, either. When we arrived at the entrance to the base, we immediately exchanged glances, fully aware of what the other was thinking about. There's a short sequence of us remembering Dave before heading across the interstate to the blocked gate, but after viewing the footage a few times, I decided that it was a bit too sad and that it changed the tone of the episode too much.
Rest in peace, David. You are missed, and this ride was dedicated to your memory.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Tim Kreitz Adventures #43: Riding Castle Gap and Maximilian's lost treasure
In this episode of Tim Kreitz Adventures, we take a Sunday ride on a perfect February day to the Table Top Mountains of West Texas, passing near the Castle Gap and Camp Melvin on the Pecos River. A quick stop in Iraan, Texas finds us enjoying gut bombs from the local convenience store. We end the day with a ride to Picnic Plateau and then head home:
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THIS ADVENTURE
The 95-mile jaunt from Midland to Iraan is one of the West Texas day rides I always try to make happen more than once a year. The rugged countryside and plateau mountains of this region are particularly appealing to me, perhaps because the ambience is so reminiscent of a moonscape or the setting of an old western movie. Certain particulars associated with the area are also of significant interest to me, as you may've noticed from my failed attempt to have a geographical discussion with the guys at the Castle Gap historical marker. One of those particulars is the legend and folklore surrounding the lost treasure of Maximilian I of Mexico, which –– as I alluded to in the video –– is said to be buried somewhere in the region through which we rode.
Maximilian's gold, a legend as big as West Texas
Austrian-born Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, who held the reigns of a short-lived puppet Mexican empire designed in part by Napoleon, was executed by rebels in 1867. Before meeting his maker, however, Maximilian is said to've sent the bulk of his treasure (consisting mainly of Mexican, Austrian, and American gold coins) into Texas under the supervision of his most trusted guard. The goal was to get the treasure, carried in 40-odd wooden barrels, to the port of Galveston where a ship would be waiting to return it to Maximilian's wife Carlotta in Austria. But as the story goes, the gold never made it out of Texas.
From The Life of Adventure:
Troubles began along the trail when Maximilian’s men ran afoul of six former Confederate soldiers. The six had been hired to augment the guard, but when they learned the true nature of the cargo, the southerners killed the Austrians and stole the treasure.
The six bandits were not prepared to transport such a tell-tale store of valuables through hostile indian territory, so they agreed to take only enough coin to satisfy their immediate needs and then, after taking careful note of the landscape of rock and sand, they buried the treasure near the trail in the vicinity of Castle Gap near Horsehead Crossing. Horsehead CrossingAlthough the exact location of the crossing has varied throughout the years and can’t be pinpointed, there is a marker 7 miles South of the town of Crane at Hwy 385. CLICK HERE for a map of the surrounding area. The leader of the pack, Bill Murdock in some accounts, became so ill that he had to be left behind when the group reached Fort Concho. It was his good luck because his compatriots, who went on ahead, were attacked by Indians and killed. When Murdock was well enough to travel he set out for San Antonio. On the way he discovered the mutilated bodies of his friends.
Murdock was now the sole owner of Maximilian’s fortune, the only man on earth who knew where the massive fortune was buried. He decided to go to Missouri and enlist the aid of Jesse James and his gang to help retrieve the loot. But on his way to Missouri it was Murdock’s ill fortune to fall in with a group of men who turned out to be horse thieves. A sheriff’s posse from Denton captured the group and took all of them, including Murdock, to the Denton County jail.
In a dank Denton jail cell, Murdock grew deathly ill. A local physician, Doctor Black, gave him no hope of recovery unless he could secure his freedom. Murdock sent for a lawyer named O’Connor. But when O’Connor arrived, it was already too late, Murdock was on his death bed.
Realizing his fate, Murdock turned over to Black and O’Connor a map to the fortune buried at Castle Gap. He confessed to the murder of Maximilian’s men, then gave up the ghost.
When Black and O’Connor finally made it out to Castle Gap – a dangerous journey then that required time and preparation – the lake was dry, and the terrific sandstorms common to the region had shifted the landscape – the marks called for in the map could not be identified. The dying bandit’s instructions led nowhere.
To this day no one has been able to discover the whereabouts of Maximilian’s gold, although many have tried.
Since I was a kid, I've heard all kinds of crazy stories about this treasure and the people who've tried to find it. So far, no dice. But I will admit that in my younger days, I once had high hopes of finding Max's gold myself. I guess at one point or another, every native West Texas kid –– in whimsical moments of childhood daydream –– has fantasized about being the one to discover the treasure.
Interesting things that didn't make the final cut
I do my level best to keep each episode of Tim Kreitz Adventures under 10 minutes while following some sort of focused flow. To that end, I left out another bit of West Texas legend that was perhaps too 'out there' to include: The secret underground military city beneath Iraan, Texas!
That's right, according to some of West Texas' finest nutjob conspiracy theorists, there is a secret and massive underground city in the restricted areas outside of Iraan. Purportedly operated by the government, it houses hundreds –– if not thousands –– of workers/denizens and is overlooked by two subterranean buildings that are over seven stories tall. No one knows its purpose or exact location, and the government is said to deny its existence (of course). But like any other piece of legend or folklore, the stories live on, growing bigger and more extravagant with each iteration.
At any rate, with spring soon on the way, we'll be exploring more of West Texas, as usual. Stay tuned for more fun and thanks for watching.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Tim's Motovlog #42: The Carmelite Monastery • Stanton Drug Store
I sneak away from the studio on a beautiful January afternoon and take you for a ride to Martin County, Texas and the small town of Stanton. There, I chat with the locals at Stanton Drug Store, have a soda or two, and take you to the ruins of an 1880s Carmelite monastery at the edge of town. Enjoy!
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Tim's Motovlog #41: How Low Fuel Prices Effect West Texas
In this episode, I ride to a location where drilling rigs are being taken out of service and stored due to low oil prices. There's a downside to low-prices fuel at the pump; energy producing communities suffer.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Motovlog #39: 4K Video Facts • Nikon S9600 Test • A Ride to the Park
The ice and rain finally go away and I take a ride to the park on a warm January day. While I'm there, I test out my new Nikon S9600 and opine about the hard truths regarding the state of 4K video. Enjoy!