Pursuit Horizon Blog 12 – TX Spiders, Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda, Barber Vintage Museum31 Jul 2012, Posted by The Journey in
A TX night from hell. Amanda’s inspired to go fast. We visit Motorcycle Heaven. Here piggy piggy.
Tree Monsters, 238mph, Awe Inspired
After the excitement (and heat) of COTA in Austin, TX; we decided to hang out in a Starbucks for a few hours and dump some footage. We ended up staying until around 9pm, and then headed to nearby Mckinney Falls State Park. Just a side note; I HATE setting up camp in the dark, you never know what creepy crawlies are out there.
We quickly decided on a campsite which we thought had significant shade, until Z saw a tarantula scurry beneath his feet. So we moved on to another site, which looked nice enough until we looked up. And then all hell broke loose; Spiders with a body size relevant to a globe grape, and a leg span as wide as my open hand, EVERYWHERE. They were in the treetops every 5-10feet. Being extremely arachnophobic, I began to freak. I noticed Z who is not at all skittish of them, panicking as well. Within 45 minutes of being in this park, we had seen 10-15 species of spiders from wolf spiders, to those horrendous tree monsters, to tarantulas and 4 inch long -Long Jawed Orb Weavers. Whose jaws are so long they are actually folded back on themselves, like giant spiked hooks. Nope; camping there was not happening. We sped out of there as quickly as we could and decided we should high tail it out of Austin, as these spiders are bound to be everywhere.
High on adrenaline at 10pm we agreed to get a hotel for the night. It was in a shady part of Austin, had a security guard with a German Shepard, and shifty looking people in the back parking lot. But we wanted to sleep, until we got into the room, which was dirty and the door locks had been obviously broken into before. OK, maybe we could make the 3 hour ride to Dallas.
HA! Foolish!We were so very tired, and at 11pm coming down from our spider adrenaline rush, we set out. We made it to a rest stop about an hour up the road. And quickly decided Z would take the first sleep shift. While he fell asleep; I became super aware of the encroaching spiders. I bit my tongue until one literally crawled less than 6 inches from me. Commence freak out. So at 1am we took off again towards Dallas, Z got maybe 15 minutes of sleep and I got more paranoid and tired. We made it Waco after seeing a 4ft rattlesnake in the middle of the road at around 3am. We picked a Motel 6 to check in to, when the nice man inside told us that if we checked in at 5am we would receive one night for free. OK 2 more hours to stay awake. UGH. At the local IHOP we had breakfast, and the delirium set in as we listened to two hookers negotiate with their new pimp. Ok bed. Please?!
We finally reached Dallas, the following day where my new Dunlop Q2’s were waiting at Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda. This powerhouse dealership is visually stunning, the staff incredibly friendly, and I really felt the Honda family connection, as everyone there was inviting and all massive Honda fans. Al Lamb introduced himself and we got to see his Land Speed World Record CBR1000rr. Al went 238mph in Bonneville in 2011 on that turbo charged monster; simply incredible! It was so astonishing to see that CBR have custom fairing work done right in a dealership, you could tell these guys loved getting to work on the bike and enjoyed facing the challenge of conquering aerodynamics. Ted and Santiago in the service department took my baby in and changed out my tires; they also gave me a full safety check and were more than hospitable to us and wished us well on our journey. Thank you again guys!!
Barber Motorsports Park is breathtaking. I am having a hard time even fathoming how to describe this holy grail of everything motorcycles. The track is beautiful black clean pavement, with nice track elevation changes, smooth hairpins and it just looks so delicious to get on. It currently has a Schwantz Racing School, and hosts an official Porsche Sport Driving School. The track is also used by Indy, and has massive sculptures throughout the beautifully manicured grounds; including “Charlotte” a massive spider.
The vintage museum houses some of the rarest and beautiful bikes I have ever seen. There are almost 750 motorcycles ranging from 1910-2012; displayed in a beautiful modern building. They are hung from the ceiling, displayed sideways, in motorcycle “trees”, climbing the walls, behind glass, or out in the open for one to walk around and marvel at. The whole museum has an air of familiarity, reverence, and approachability. “Can we live here please Zach?” I cannot even express how I feel about the beauty of this experience.
All I can say is THANK YOU Mr. Barber for being such a fan of the art of motorcycles, for preserving such history, and displaying it for all of us to see. I am forever touched by this place, and plan on making many more visits.
9pm Everything is BIGGER in Texas – Fueled by the high of visiting the Circuit of America’s we set out to camp that night just a few miles from the track, outside of Austin. To the Mckinney Falls Campgrounds at night we arrive. It looks nice and there are plenty of spots available. “This one has a lot of trees” I communicate to Amanda through our Sena helmet headsets. Trees mean shade in the morning; that means we it will be slightly colder so we can sleep in. As my feet hit ground I see a six inch tarantula scurry between my feet and the front tire of my bike. OK I can deal with that, we just saw one at Zion and this one was running away.
Grab the JOBY lights and the perform the now routine campsite inspection. Find a flat spot for the tent, look for rocks on the ground, the usual. Tonight I decide to look up at the stars hoping to see them framed peacefully in an embrace by the branches of the trees. Holy S#@! that’s a big spider web with a big fat spider in the center of it directly over our heads. Wait let’s stop for a second. In Reno, NV where I’m from the biggest spider I’ve seen is maybe the size of a quarter. This one’s belly is almost the size of a ping pong ball. Gaze to the right with the light another tree spider, and another, and anoth……. Yeah I’m freaking out a bit now. Hmm I’m starting to feel panicked; but I’m not scared of spiders. Guess I’m scared of them when they are everywhere. I look at Amanda, she looks at me and two adults run for their bikes like kids who just broke a window. Racing out of the park we see a spider crossing the road the size of a small dinner plate. It turned out to be some crazy big jawed TX spiderzilla. I’m sure Amanda has the technical name in her blog.
10pm Regrouping in Starbucks parking lot deciding on a new plan.
11pm Checking into a Howard Johnson hotel in Austin, TX.
11:30pm Checking out of this hole after finding out the door to the room had been kicked in and poorly repaired and the sliding glass window has a view of the people sleeping in cars behind the place. The sliding door with no working lock.
12pm Midnight – Scared and awake now so let’s just ride 3.5hrs into Dallas.
2pm and who were we kidding. Into a rest area and we pull the bikes into the center of the large grassy area onto the concrete square under the metal gazebo. Don’t see any bugs, odd for Texas so they must spray here I tell myself. Amanda and I lean up against a corner of the gazebo, gripping our bags with our valuables, with the curious eyes of multiple truckers upon us. Maybe we can get an hour of sleep and move on. Do I feel safe, not a hundred percent but I am feeling helpless at this point and exhausted. If some crazy trucker wants to mess with us I’ll deal with it. And UP we jump as another big spider runs right for us. This ones the size of my smart phone. Crazy redneck trucker attacking us we can deal with but once again we run for the bikes like kids at the sight of a spider.
3am GPS takes us to a KOA campground – First time it lets me down and there is nothing here but a dead end and a dirt field. Wait there is a big rattle snake. I think it’s dead, maybe, who cares we’re out of here.
3:30am – Motel 6 for $36.99 you are looking good. Quick check and it actually looks safe and decent. “If you wait till 5am you won’t have to check out till the next day, otherwise check out is at 11am.” says the receptionist. We do need to kill a day till Dallas.
3:45am-5am “I’ll have the raw meat pancakes.” I tell the waitress as we sit in the I-Hop down the highway from the Motel-6 in Waco TX. Seriously looking at the photo of the red Velvet Pancakes on the menu they look like raw meat with syrup. At least listening to the two hookers negotiate a new employment deal with the pimp in the booth behind us is entertaining.
It’s over, so glad that day is done, time to sleep.
Two Dunlop’s Please – We had just clicked over 5000 miles and Amanda was in need of some new rubber. Misty at Dunlop being awesome as usual coordinated to have a pair waiting for us at Al Lambs Honda in Dallas TX. This is by far the nicest dealership I have ever been to. The employees there are appreciated and it shows. Everyone has a smile, they all seem to be enthusiast, and love their jobs. Al Lamb the owner is one of those guys who has a presence.
He is a big muscular tall guy. He is also one of the coolest, welcoming people we have met along our journey. He talks to us for awhile about his land speed record attempts while the techs change out Amanda’s tires. Looks like we will be doing our best to meet up with him in the Salt Flats of UT at the tail end of our trip in Sept.
“You are now entering Motorcycle Heaven please keep the drool to a minimum.” IF YOU LOVE MOTORCYCLES READ ON – We pull up to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and are greeted in front just outside the doors by Mr. Barber and Jeff Ray head of the museum. This is an unexpected honor. We both blush as Mr. Barber says he is glad we chose to visit their museum. As we cross into the threshold of the entrance I cannot believe what I am seeing. I glance over at Amanda and she has stopped walking and her eyes are big as saucers. A five story building that alone is a structure of immense beauty is artistically displaying hundreds of the rarest most sought after motorcycles in the world. For the next five hours we both explore the museum. It’s wonderful and I cannot stress enough how it is an absolute must for any motorcycle enthusiast.
On a side note if the Zompocalyspe ever happens this is the place Amanda and I decided we would be holding up to make our last stand. We both could deal with this place being the last thing we ever see. It feels like heaven on earth here.
Now you’re a BIG Piggy! – Mr. Barber and Jeff Ray were kind enough to let us camp in the upper paddock for the evening. This was great as we were able to get a multitude of shots of the racetrack as the sunset. The guard told us there was a wild boar spotted on the property. I figured he was just messing with us. Out of the tent half dressed to go to the showers and freeze, what was that noise. It’s the boar with three babies. I move behind my bike as they are only 15ft away. I start to look for a camera thinking it’s just a pig I’ll get some shots. Amanda leaps out of the tent leaving my cookies and chocolate unguarded in there and in seconds starts her bike and begins revving it. She scared them away. I wanted to film the piggy’s. She’s claiming their aggressive and deadly, the guards later say the same and seem worried. Hmm the only pig I’ve know in my life is Miss Piggy and she seems nice.