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Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 2 May 2013


Map of Day 2 Ride Route

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

I was staying with my son Tony and his family. They were sleeping in so I loaded the bike and slipped away. I stopped at Denny’s for a leisurely breakfast. There was no hurry because it is only 50 miles to the San Jacinto Monument. I hate driving in Houston traffic on four wheels so I really hate Houston traffic on two… Even though I rode through Houston it was a nice ride. The weather was 67 degrees with just a few clouds and very light Sunday morning traffic…

Early Sunday Morning I-610

Early Sunday Morning I-610

I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS… I had more GPS problems today. When I tried to enter my first stop, “The San Jacinto Monument”, the GPS couldn’t find it! I tried to enter the address 3523 Independence Parkway but still no result. I looked at the GPS map and found the street to be labeled Battleground Road instead of Independence Parkway. Using 3523 Battleground Road worked. What a hassle… So if you are heading that way and using your GPS please take note… Once I found the road… the signs use both names… The map people didn’t get the memo…

You can see the monument for miles before you actually get there. It is an impressive sight.

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

There is no charge for the monument unless you want to see the view from atop the monument. You take the elevator up to the Monument’s Observation floor, 489 feet above the Battleground. Once at the top you will have a beautiful view of the city, Houston Ship Channel, harbor and surrounding area. The San Jacinto Museum of History is housed in the base of the San Jacinto Monument and has priceless artifacts, dioramas, 250,000 documents and 40,000 books chronicling more than 400 years of early Texas history.

Walking the Battleground there are granite markers designating locations of the Texian camps, the Mexican camps, the advance by Texian forces and other information about the battle.

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

If you are not a Texan you may be asking yourself… “What’s the big deal?” Well… the Texans had lost the battles of the Alamo and Goliad. The men at those locations fought a fierce fight and died horrific deaths for what they believed. Santa Anna thought he had it all wrapped up except for finishing off Sam Houston and his men… few in numbers and corner at San Jacinto. Two of the plaques on the on the monument sums it up best.

With the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The Texans charged. The enemy, taken by surprise rallied for a few minutes then fled in disorder. The Texans ask no quarter and gave none. The slaughter was appalling, victory complete and Texas free! On the following day General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna self-styled “Napoleon of the West” received from a generous foe the mercy he had denied Travis at the Alamo and Fannin at Goliad.

Measure by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here lead to the annexation and the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma almost one third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty.

The fight lasted just 18 minutes. About 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only 9 Texans died. Santa Anna fled the battle disguised as an enlisted man. Santa Anna was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.

Text on base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on the base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on the base of the San Jacinto Monument

So this is a big deal for us Texans and we are proud of our history and culture. All the historic sites of the “Texas Independence Trail” help remind us of where we have come and help us to be mindful of our responsibility to our past and future generations.

For more on the battle click here ( http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qes04 ).

San Jacinto Monument Reflecting Pool with Battleship Texas

San Jacinto Monument Reflecting Pool with Battleship Texas

While at the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument you may want to spend some time at the Battleship Texas, located just across Battlefield Road. You can see the battleship when looking down the reflective pool from the monument. The admission fee is $12 for everyone 13 years old and older. The tour is self guided and there is a lot of history to be seen about the battleship and World War II.

Beach at Galveston

Beach at Galveston

The rest of the ride was very enjoyable. By now it was overcast and it was in the low 80’s. From San Jacinto I rode to La Porte and rode down Hwy 146 to Galveston. Hwy 146 parallels Galveston Bay with many nice views of the bay all along the way. When I got to Galveston I rode Seawall Blvd. to the northeast end of the island before turning around and heading southwest to Surfside. There was lots of swimmers on the beach today and traffic on Seawall Blvd. was rather heavy.

Rolling down San Louis Pass Road

Rolling down San Louis Pass Road

San Louis Pass Road

San Louis Pass Road

I rode to Surfside via Seawall Blvd., San Louis Pass Rd., and Bluewater Hwy. There is a toll ($2) bridge where San Louis Pass Rd. ends and where Bluewater Hwy starts.

Because I forgot the GPS was set to avoid toll roads, it kept trying to route me around this bridge. I forgot about the toll bridge and was a bit annoyed with the GPS… again… When I got to the bridge I realized what my problem was.

Rolling down the Bluewater Highway

Rolling down the Bluewater Highway

This leg of my ride was a nice leisurely ride with cool sea breezes, over cast skies and great beach views along the way. At Freeport I picked up Hwy 36 and rode to West Columbia my final destination for the day.

First Capital of Texas at West Columbia

First Capital of Texas at West Columbia

West Columbia is my hometown and was the “First Capitol of Texas”. Around 1833 Leman Kelsey built a story and a half structure.  In 1836 West Columbia then known as Columbia became the first capital of the Republic of Texas and this building was one of two that housed the new government of the Republic of Texas.  The Congress convened here and Sam Houston took the office as President and Stephen F. Austin as Secretary of State.  In 1837, the government moved to the new city of Houston. The 1900 storm destroyed the original capital. A Replica was built at this site in 1976-77. The replica depicts how the interior and exterior looked during 1836.

Replica of the First Capital Of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital Of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital of Texas Building

Much of my family still lives in the area. When I say much I mean much… I have over 40 first cousins and many aunts, uncles and second and third cousins! I will be staying with my brother Gary and his wife Ginny tonight.

It was a fun and busy day riding and exploring just a small part of Texas’ history…

You can read the other post about this ride here…


Trail of Tears and Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride 7 Days 1691 Miles September 2006

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel, Trail of Tears, Palo Duro Canyon

Our Ride Route Map

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

Trail of Tears riders

My riding buddies Larry C. and Larry T. ride the Trail of Tears motorcycle ride every September and I try to join them on the second night of the ride in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I have ridden to meet my riding buddies in Hot Springs several times before but this was the first time Janet rode with me. Before this trip was over it would be many firsts for Janet.

  1. The first time to ride in a large group (250+ bikes)
  2. The first time riding in rain
  3. The first time riding in strong wind
  4. The first time to ride the last leg of the Trail of Tears Motorcycle ride
motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

Route 66 National Museum Elk City OK Sept’06

This year Larry C. was having back problems and wasn’t able to make the ride… Bummer… Larry wanted to chance it but all involved convinced him to sit this one out. The up side is that Larry T.’s wife Shirley rode with Larry. Shirley is always fun to ride with…

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

Lighthouse Formation in the Palo Duro Canyon

The Trail of Tears motorcycle ride starts in Chattanooga, Tennessee and goes to the trail’s end. The second leg of the ride ends in Hot Springs. The last leg continues the next day and ends somewhere in Oklahoma. This year it was ending in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. We will ride the last leg and from there we  will continue on to the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel

Palo Duro Canyon

Come follow along and enjoy as we ride our 7 day, 1691 mile ride.  Checkout the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

While you are here, you may like these post, too…

Come follow along as we explore more scenic vista’s in Texas…

Please click here to check out our Facebook Page and give us a “LIKE”.

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride September 2008

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride -(Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma 2821 Miles)

I just got back from a motorcycle trip with 2 of my friends. Larry Cooper (my old Air Force buddy) from Alabama and Larry Talley (Larry Cooper’s friend from high school) from Georgia. I’ve known Larry Talley almost as long as I’ve known Larry Cooper because I met him when I first went to visit Larry Cooper in Alabama.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on this trip because of all that had happened during the 2 previous weeks. Two weeks before the trip we were going down to take my parents to Victoria to see my sister Edna who had just had a mastectomy. Just before we left we got a call from Ginny (sister-in-law) telling us that my dad was in the hospital due to chest pains. We never made it to Victoria. My dad was released from the hospital on Monday and Wednesday we brought them back to Georgetown because hurricane Ike was supposed to hit the coast there. We also brought my Aunt Bips too. Later Janet’s Aunt Pat and Uncle Perry and their 3 great grand kids came to stay with us until it was safe to return. We also had my brother Gary and Wife Ginny, Ginny’s mother, Ginny’s mother’s neighbor, their daughter Mandy and her 2 kids and a couple that was friends of Mandy’s staying in a motel near by. When the storm passed I drove down to Victoria and picked up a generator for my parents since their power was out. I stayed there until Thursday taking care of various situations. I thought I was going to stay longer because my dad was scheduled for a heart cath on Friday. Since it was cancelled I was able to go on the trip. I spent nearly all day Friday getting ready for this trip.

This was the longest MC trip I have ever been on in terms of miles. Actually it was too many miles for such few days. In spite of it all it was still fun. I think we all decided that next time we travel this many miles we will be taking 2 weeks instead of just 8 days. Besides getting older and our bodies needing more time we need more time to see the sights. We saw the sights in more of a blur. There was much more that we could have seen if we had more time.

September 20 Saturday


487 miles: Georgetown, TX to Amarillo, TX

Amarillo Texas, Motorcycle Ride

Motel 6 in Amarillo

It was a long ride for me and it ended up getting pretty warm before I got to Amarillo. T. Bone Pickens wasn’t kidding about Sweetwater, TX; there are hundreds of those windmills that generate electricity there. I’ve seen them in many places around the country but there were hundreds of them around Sweetwater. (See www.pickensplan.org)

I met the 2 Larry’s in Amarillo. Because of all that was going on with me the Larry’s left a day later and we rode the trip backwards so that I would be able to go. They left on the19th and rode to Ft. Smith, AR (I think) and rode the remained on the 20th. I arrived before they did and I got us a room at a Motel-6 on I-40. They arrived not long afterward. We had originally planned to meet at the Big Texan Steak Ranch on I-40 but since I arrived much sooner I decided to go ahead and find us a room. We didn’t eat at Big Texan Steak Ranch because they were so busy. They had some kind if entertainment going on that had a lot of people attending. We ended up eating a steak across the street from our motel. The steak wasn’t bad but I’ve had better.

September 21 Sunday

Map, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

365 miles: Amarillo, TX to Colorado Springs, CO

We ate breakfast across the street where we ate the night before. Then we headed for Castle Rock, Colorado. In the past when I had driven that way I had traveled to Dumas, TX then took Hwy 87 to Raton, NM. This time we followed the route Gladys (My GPS’ name given to her by Janet & Kristy) mapped out for us. Gladys took us Hwy 1061 to Hwy 385. We then picked up Hwy 87 at Hartley. The wind picked up and blew pretty hard for most of this day’s trip. I think it blew the hardest traveling through New Mexico. We stopped to see Capulin Volcano.

New Mexico, motorcycle ride

Welcome center at Capulin Volcano

New Mexico, Motorcycle ride

View from atop Capulin Volcano

Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape. The ride to the top spirals around the volcano with quite a drop off on one side and a shear wall on the other. If height bothers you then … the view from the top was something to see. You could see for miles and other volcano were visible too.

From Capulin we rode over Raton pass and stopped in Trinidad for gas. We then rode through part of the town because Larry T. wanted to see what it looked like. From there we rode to Colorado Springs. We decided to spend the night there instead of riding on to Castle Rock. I knew Katie (my youngest daughter) was in Colorado taking a break from hurricane Ike. She was with out power in Kingwood and she didn’t have to be back to work until Wednesday so she took a quick hurrication (Katie’s word for this vacation) until Wednesday. I gave her a call to see where she was and guess what!!?? She was in Colorado Springs. It was late and we were all (Katie and her friends too) tired so we didn’t get together since they were about 12 miles away from where we were staying. Needless to say Katie and I were both surprised that we were that close. Janet told Katie she can run but she can’t hide from us…

September 22 Monday

map, Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado Springs, Central City,Cheyenne , motorcycle ride

251 miles: Colorado Springs to Cheyenne, WY via Blackhawk, Estes Park, and Loveland

We rode to Castle Rock, took Hwy 85 to Hwy 470 to I-70 to Hwy 72. Hwy 72 took us through the mountains to Blackhawk and Central City. Janet and I went there numerous times when we lived in Aurora (1978 – 1986). It was one of our favorite destinations… but what a difference 20+ years makes. It had completely changed… instead of being the quaint little old historic towns they were in the past they were now a casino Mecca.

Streets of the old Central City. 20 years ago it would have been full of people.

Court House Central City Colorado

Wyoming, motorcycle ride

Checking map…

The ride through the mountains to Estes Park was nice. The air was crisp and clean with the Aspens turning to bright yellow. Seeing the Aspens turn is one of the many things Janet and I miss about Colorado. I had forgotten much of that road but I did remember a few things. I had forgot coming into Estes Park from Hwy 72. You look down on Estes Park from atop the mountain. Estes Park is still a very pretty little tourist town. From Estes Park we rode through the Big Thompson Canyon. Big Thompson canyon was truly a pretty ride too with the road following the Big Thompson River through the canyon. Once we were back on I-25 it was a quick ride to Cheyenne. Just before we hit the Wyoming state line we suddenly hit a wall of cold air and the wind picked up too. The temperature drop felt like it was at least 20 degrees. Needless to say we were ready to find a room and get off the bikes for a while.

September 23 Tuesday

353 miles: Cheyenne to Spearfish, SD via Devils Tower

After a stop at Wal Mart for a few things and an attempted to stop at a motorcycle dealer (they were closed) we headed toward Devils Tower. The Larry’s had brought things for making sandwiches so we stopped at a picnic stop along the way for lunch. Most of that ride the scenery was mostly rolling plains but once we got near Devils Tower the scenery was hills covered with pine trees. This was the first time any of us had been to Devils Tower. We spent quite a while walking around the base of Devils Tower and taking pictures. It was an impressive sight.

Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Once hidden, erosion has revealed Devils Tower. This 1347-acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen.

Also known as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site for many American Indians.

From Devils Tower we rode to Spearfish, South Dakota and spent the night.

motorcycle ride Wyoming

Lunch on Hwy 85 in WY on our way to Devil’s Tower

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Devil’s Tower

September 24 Wednesday

motorcycle ride

180 miles: Spearfish, SD to Chadron, NE via Spearfish Canyon, Deadwood, Sturgis, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mt.

We got an early start. The temperature was 39 degrees. Before I left on this trip an old high school friend (Butch Kay) told me about several places that we needed to ride while in the area. One was Spearfish Canyon. Like I said it was 39 degrees that morning but I know it was much colder in the canyon. I was wishing I had brought some warmer gloves. But in spite of the cold it was a great ride through the canyon.

Spearfish Canyon is one of the oldest and most miraculous canyons in the west. Located in the northern portion of the Black Hills National Forest, the canyon spans 20-miles along a scenic and unique State and National Scenic Byway. Less than a mile wide, the canyon is always ‘close and upward’ dwarfing the one-million annual visitors

After leaving the canyon we rode on to Deadwood (Where Wild Bill was shot) and on to Sturgis. Sturgis looked like any other small town. From there we back tracked through Deadwood, stopped at Pactola Reservoir for a short break and rode on to Mt. Rushmore. The Black Hills are really pretty and a great place to ride. We spent some time at Mt. Rushmore walking the trails and taking pictures. It’s been 30 years since I was there last and it had changed quite a bit. There was also a lot of people there which was a surprise to me since it was late September. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in July.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Pactola Reservoir

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon

From Mt. Rushmore we rode on to Crazy Horse Memorial. I had been there 30 years ago. They have removed a lot of the mountain and Crazy Horse now has a head (face). They have been working on him for 60 years. Needless to say they have a long way to go and it will take another generation of the Ziolkowski family to finish the memorial.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s  mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

We had planned to ride the Needles Hwy this day but since we all had a long way to go to get home (me 1100 miles and about 1400 miles for the Larry’s) we rode to Chadron, Nebraska and got a room.

September 25 Thursday

motorcycle ride, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas

466 miles: Chadron, NE to Garden City, KS

motorcycle ride, Nebraska

Nowhere in North Platte, NE

I rode with the Larry’s to North Platte, NE and from there we said our goodbyes. They headed to Anamosa, Iowa to see a motorcycle museum. Anamosa was the original place we were to meet but due to all that happened the 2 weeks before we left we rode the trip backwards. I thought about going with them to Anamosa but I decided to make an easy ride home for my self.

At one gas stop I met a couple from Pennsylvania who had been riding for 5 weeks riding to the northwest and California etc. They weren’t ready to go home but had jobs they had to get back to. We had a good visit and then we went our separate ways after they took my picture to add to their travel log.

I rode to Garden City to spend the night.

September 26 Friday

motorcycle ride

423 miles: Garden City, KS to Abilene, TX

I got an early start and headed to Abilene. The scenery in Nebraska and Kansas was pretty much the same. A lot of farm and ranch land… and a lot of very smelly feedlots. It seemed that every town had a feedlot. In its own way it was still pretty and I’m sure a different way of life. Miles and miles between towns.

September 27 Saturday

motorcycle ride

205 miles: Abilene to Georgetown (Home)

The morning I left Abilene the sky was filled with hot air balloons. It was quite a site. The balloons could be seen miles way from Abilene.

The ride home was easy for the most part. I have ridden this stretch several times. I saw many familiar sites and a few I somehow missed. I was ready to get home. It seemed as though I hadn’t seen Janet in a month. To my surprise when I got home Janet had cooked me a coconut cream pie (my favorite). It’s nice to be missed.

All in all I must say it was a good trip. For the most part we had really good weather and saw some really pretty country. The only thing I would change is taking more days to travel that distance.

If you liked this post you may like this of another ride here.

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Trip September 2010

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Trip (TX, AR, OK, NM, AZ, UT, CO  3346 Miles)

For the last few years I have taken a motorcycle trip in September. In the past, the trips have started with me meeting my friends LC (Larry Cooper my Air Force buddy) who lives in Bryant Alabama and LT (Larry Talley) who lives in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. We would meet in Hot Springs, AR. LC & LT would ride the “Trail of Tears” motorcycle ride which starts in Chattanooga, TN and it would end somewhere in Oklahoma. I would then ride the last leg of the “Trail of Tears” with them and the other 250 or so riders. This year the “Trail of Tears” ride ended in Tahlequah, OK. This year LC & LT rode ahead of the official ride to Hot Springs because of the heat. When riding in that large of a group it moves slower and is hotter.

I’ve known LT almost as long as LC. While LC and I were buddies in the Air Force LC always talked about LT. Our first motorcycle trip together was 32 years ago in July when I rode my Kawasaki KZ400 out to visit LC. LC (Kawasaki KZ900) & LT (Yamaha 750 I think) rode and met me half way and then we rode back to LC’s together. Below is a picture from that trip of LC & LT, at the motel, as we are getting ready to ride back to LC’s. My how things have changed but our enthusiasm for riding hasn’t.

Janet didn’t make this trip since the other wives were not able to make it and she didn’t want to be the only girl. I did miss my riding buddy.

Below are the posts from each day of our ride. Come follow along as we ride to enjoy the fun and beautiful scenery…

Day 1 & 2 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 3 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 4 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 5 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 6 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 7 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 8 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 9 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 10 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…