I've determined that good BBQ is worth riding for. Well, riding is it's own reward but it's like squared when you have BBQ.
I'm a member of the Two Wheeled Texans group and we do lots of rides for pie, they hold one a month. However, two years ago a couple of the die hard BBQ smoker guys got together and put up a little festival of BBQ for the members of the forum. Folks rode in and I had to miss it because I was currently working Saturdays. I got to hear how wonderful the food was and how much I'd missed out on some great camaraderie and an all around good time.
I was determined to make it then next year. I started a new job that didn't have me working Saturdays, but I didn't have any vacation time available yet. This event is in San Antonio and I'm in Dallas, so the fast (insane) way is about a 5 hour ride each way. I was still on my FZ1 and didn't have an SS1K under my belt so I hadn't moved on to immortal status yet, but was just a mere sport bike rider at the time so no way was I going down and back in a day. Then crap came up at work and I took a long hard look at my rear tire and realized that I just wasn't going to make it. I sat around the house moping in a state of depression and then proceeded to watch the forum and see everyone reporting back on what a great time it was.
THIS YEAR! This year I am NOT missing this! As soon as the date July 14 was posted I put in for vacation and announced (asked permission) to the wife that I was going!
This deal is hosted by one of the members at his house in a cul de sac but he doesn't cook. He welcomes everyone to come and throw down a sleeping bag in the house and crash wherever we can find floor space. I'm totally doing this!
Here's the FJR packed up and ready to go!
Hrm, you might have noticed that while it's packed up and ready to go, it's sitting in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere, going, um...well...nowhere. Let's take a look in front of me.
Well, that doesn't give a good view of the situation, now does it?
That's better, how bout we look behind me?
Eeew. So I have a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, the bike is turned off and I'm thankful it's still early and the sun isn't up to roasting angle yet. However, there is the matter of me being on a time crunch here because I've scheduled to meet riders from San Antonio, Houston, and various other locations for lunch and then an afternoon Hill Country ride. Mind you, the organizer of said lunch and ride is none other than myself. I'm not leading, but I did put this little deal together so I kind of should be there.
So after 30 minutes I see vehicles starting to move atop the hill and I hop on the bike and fire it up. Yep, much less heat bars than when I shut her down and we are on the move. They had the road shut down for 10 miles to one lane going one direction at a time, but they'd shut both directions down while they transferred the chip seal convoy from one side of the road to the other requiring the entire convoy of tools and dump trucks to change direction, hence our wait.
I finally hit Hico and head south on 281. I arrived about 10-20 minutes late and the guys were already there. Lunch is at the Chrome Cactus in Johnson City, Tx. (***EDIT - sadly this restaurant is now closed***)
I meet up with the guys and order up the Cheddar Burger. OMG, I've got an entire thread post on this burger over at the FZ1forum's burger thread but I'll just say that this was probably the best darn burger I've ever had. I could eat the bun by itself and the rest of the burger was that good.
Face stuffing number one out of the way, we head out. I'm escorted for a less sporty ride than I'd hoped for, but still a very scenic and pleasant ride around part of the Hill Country and San Antonio areas seeing stuff you just don't see without a local guide. I didn't take many pictures but we did have a mandatory photo op in Oz.
I didn't see the wizard and apparently the yellow bricks were too costly so there was only crappy pavement leading there, but now I can say I've been there.
We wind around, and then they tried to make me crash. See, we got to ride the river road, and there's all these folks on tubes in the river, and many of them are good looking young ladies in skimpy bathing suits. It's hard to keep your eyes on the winding road with such distractions present. Sorry, no pics, that would have just guaranteed I'd end up in the drink with my bike and camera both destroyed. And if I did I think I'd garner more laughs from the bikini clad women than sympathy.
So we end up at our destination. I hop in the pool for a quick cool down because I've been sweating bullets and draining my camelbak. Finally I'm cooled off, not so smelly and sitting in the shade in the front lawn with a big cup of ice cold sweet southern tea. And then we sit and await the guests of honor. First pit arrives around 6pm.
After much more waiting, the pit master for this event, Scott, shows up with "Major." his giant smoker on a trailer.
After getting everything set up, it gets dark and it's time to start fires. Oh what a sight!
At this point, another member fires up his wok and oil and begins the traditional friday night fish fry. I'm thinking of hitting McDonalds because, well, I just don't do fish. Thanks but no thanks. Then I have a piece of fried golden redfish thrust into my hand and I have to be polite so I take a bite. Holy wow! This is darn good! There's no organized method of serving, we just have an incredible couple who just returned from 37 days traveling Canada and Alaska the day before who slave away churning out piece after piece of fried fish. They get dumped on a plate and people walk by and grab some. I think I ate fish for about two to three hours while he did this, all while sipping sweet tea and enjoying an unusual pleasant evening outside in Texas in the summer.
Face stuffing number two is complete. After some more socializing I decide that it's been a full day and I need to retire. I say goodnight to Scott and Phil who will be tending the fires throughout the night and go crash on the basement floor where it was nice and cool and dark and quiet.
I wake up in the morning and Scott is still going, and now he's made breakfast for everyone. What a guy!
Those things you see closest to the camera are Breakfast Fatties. Basically pork sausage stuffed with cheese and tomato stuff and bits of sunshine straight from heaven. He serves them up on a biscuit with butter and jalapeno pineapple jelly. Holy wow! These things are worth coming for all by themselves. I wait around and make sure everyone else has gotten some and Scott gives the signal that it's not ok to approach for seconds and I pounce.
Face stuffing number three complete.
Now it's time to wait around for lunch. Folks are starting to arrive.
It's not a gathering of motorcyclists or a real party until the cops arrive.
Food starts to come off of the grill. Four pork butts and five briskets...
A couple of ribs...
And about a gazillion sausages.
A couple days before I'd gotten a message from a forum friend, Andrew, saying he had read my SS1K report and he's not decided it's time for him to do the same. As it turns out, this very Saturday is the day and his turn around point is a zillion miles away from me in a town just outside of San Antonio. Except it's not a zillion miles away because I'm going to be in SA. I shoot him back a message telling him that since I had BBQ at my turn around point, why doesn't he do the same, and I send him the link to the event.
Shortly before lunch time he arrives in tow behind a guy from the ST forum who happens to live only two blocks away and has been looking for folks to ride with. Welcome aboard! He'll join up the TWTex forum a few days later.
Here's Andrew and his sweet mile crunching machine.
I introduce Andrew to the host and the pit masters and then inquire as to the schedule pointing out that he's on an SS1K run and kind of on a time crunch. Scott, who has at least three documented SS1K's under his belt runs inside and comes out and thrusts a brisket sandwich in RH's hands before anyone else has even gotten to eat yet. Great folks I tell ya! The dinner bell rings and folks pour inside to the food line. I see off RH and his friend as they head out to ride to his turn around point and then he'll head home to complete his SS1K.
Ok, enough with being friendly, I wave and run for the line. I'm the last guy through and only manage to scrape together some tidbits for my plate.
I then put away another half plate and enter that painful blissful thanksgiving day sick feeling. But....ok, there's still room for brownies!
Face stuffing number four complete!
Unlike many events where you start with a meal, this one ends with a meal. After lunch, folks let their food settle and then start the process of taking off. Some will take off to go ride local roads as they live close, others pack up for the ride home. I get the bike all packed, get suited up and then go jump in the pool. Yep, gear and all. I'm dripping wet when I sling a soggy leg over the FJR and point it into San Antonio traffic. As I start moving I'm pleasantly chilly. Fight my way through San Antonio and jump on 281 to beat feet out of town.
On the ride back I realize that I'm presently not having any fun and wish I was home. Whoops, there's that indicator. Time to stop for a break. Yep, I'm a little achy from the riding and sleeping on the floor, I haven't had an ounce of caffeine that my body is used to, my socks are damp, warm, and steamy and not providing any cooling effect, and there's that rumble in my stomach as it fights for room for the massive intake I've just done and wants to expel some old stuff. I take care of each of these needs and get back on the bike and now I'm smiling.
About the time the heat hits me and I'm wishing I was still wet from the pool, I pass through two micro rain storms. I certainly don't bother with the rain suit and just ride on enjoying it.
Just past Hico, I think I'm on 220 headed for 67 but find I'm on another road headed back south. Balls! I pull out the phone, figure out my location, yea, missed that turn back in Hico. Hrm, how to fix this. Let's see, I can take that road to that town to that road which will dump me on 67. Ok, let's go. Quick u-turn (yes, an AE can do a u-turn) and I head back a half mile and make my turn. A couple hundred yards down the road I'm greeted by the sight that brings a smile to motorcyclists faces the world over. The squiggly road sign. It appears getting lost was a good thing because 220 is straight as an arrow and now I've got some high speed sweepers to shred.
I roll home and narrowly miss some really nasty storms that hit us ten minutes after I shut the garage door. My three year old greets me with his usual enthusiasm and a huge hug, all of which I know will disappear in a few years, so I cherish them while I can get them.
All in all, a good ride and a whole lot of good eating! I'm liking this long distance ride to eat thing, gotta keep it up!