Sunday, May 24, 2009


Trail of Tears Ride Report (or 'Betting Against Rain and Losing') with pics

I'm very irritated with The Weather Channel. They said there was no chance of rain in West Texas today and that skies would be mostly clear.

They lied.

I almost took the Z-Rex on our Trail of Tears ride today, but as I walked out into the garage, this caught my eye:

As it turned out, I'm glad I made the decision to take the ZX-7R. It offers more protection from the elements with its full set of bodywork and Puig windscreen. Though little did I know I would need it at that point.

At any rate, we assembled in North Midland and headed to Big Spring where we picked up my buddy Curt, who I've been friends with since 1981 when we were just snot-nosed little kids:

From our meeting point in Big Spring, we headed south on Highway 87, shortly thereafter making the turn onto FM821, the first leg of the Trail of Tears.

The road was terrible. It had rained the night before, and we were dodging puddles, dirt clods, and mud spots at every turn. By the time we made the turn onto the Hyman Road, we decided to slow down to a below-average pace and just enjoy the scenery.

Our first stop on the trail was the old church at Hyman Settlement. Today was the first time I'd seen the old church since 2007, and it isn't looking very well. The old girl is starting to collapse. We were all kind of shocked at the sudden advancing of the decay:

The Gothic bell tower is seemingly about to fall:

We noticed that the gate to the cemetery next door was open, so we walked around and checked out the old graves, many of them going back to before WWI.

The view of the road from Hyman Cemetery was kinda pretty. Nettle and Thistle are blooming everywhere:

At Hymen is when we started to get our first inkling that bad weather was beginning to form:

To cut the trip short, we decided to take Highway 163 north to Lake Colorado City and have lunch at the Sportsman's Club, then head back to Big Spring. This actually suited me fine, since my wife and I had been invited to go see a minor-league baseball game with friends, and the abbreviated ride would get me back in plenty of time to see the opening pitch.

Ah, the good old Sportsman's Club. I'm sure glad they're open "year-round":

D'oh! Except for today:

Since we were already there, we decided to take a look around. This is the back yard:

The club -- currently not serving Tim, party of four:

Having airballed lunch at the Sportsman's club, we began the nine-mile eastern ride into Colorado City to search out another eatery. Unfortunately, Mother Nature turned us soundly away. About four miles out, we found ourselves headed right into the first thunderstorm of the day, and opted to make a 180-degree turn for Big Spring.

When we arrived, it seemed we had left the worst behind, and decided to have a little Chinese food at Hunan before going home. Dave killed 'em at the buffet:

After sitting around eating and talking for 45 minutes, Britt and I each received almost-simultaneous phone calls from our wives, warning us that it was pouring down rain in Midland. When we paid the check and walked outside, this is what we saw in the distance:

After doing a good job of circumnavigating bad weather all day, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were probably gonna get wet.

And we did.

Thankfully, we missed the worst of it, as most of the storm cells had moved on to the south by the time we got to Midland. Still, we hit a few showers along the way, and had to ride through the storm's flash-floody aftermath. Here's what my street looked like when I got home:

My poor, soaked ZX-7R, in dire need of a hug:

Luckily, the rain had delayed the start of the baseball game, and I had just enough time to halfway clean up the 7R, take a shower, and get to the ball park. I got there at the top of the second inning:

The storms were all southeast of Midland by that point, but were still dumping massive amounts of rain in the distance:

I hope the rain is done by tomorrow, because we're all participating in the Memorial Day Ride to Remember, and I'd sure hate to miss it. I'll have another ride report on that tomorrow.

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