I awoke just before 8am and rolled over to see that it was in the low 20s. Brrr.
With a long day ahead, I was determined to get an early start, so I immediately extricated myself from the sleeping bag and started to pack up. I guess the cold caused me to move more slowly, because it was a full two hours before I waved goodbye and rolled the ST down the dirt access road and onto TX-118.
The first 80 miles were to be the most fun I’d have all day. The R1200ST twisted and turned like a pro on the winding asphalt. On one of the long straights, the whispering voice of temptation was strong, but I only twisted my right hand a little before deciding not to risk it. Coming down out of the Davis Mountains into Alpine, I was strongly reminded of CA-58 and the descent to McKittrick.
I made my first fuel stop of the day in Alpine with 570 miles to go. It is always a bit depressing to see that high of a goal on the GPS at close to midday (it was just after 11am). I opted to have a Clif bar for breakfast and get back to eating miles.
An hour and a half later, I was rolling down I-10 at 84 mph (speedlimit is 80!) having a hard time keeping my focus. I was tired and getting the afternoon doldrums early. After I found myself shaking my head to keep awake, I pulled into a rest area for a break. An almond Snickers bar that had been floating around my topbox provided a nice sugar rush while I sat and read my book for a few minutes.
Surprisingly refreshed from that short break, I easily made it to Ozona, TX for a lunch and fuel stop around 2pm.
After getting such a slow start with many stops in the morning, I was slightly concerned about my ability to keep good saddle discipline on this 650 mile day. Happily, that “so tired and can’t seem to keep my eyes open” feeling never returned. I was easily able to stay focused on the road through the entire 200 miles from Ozona to San Antonio without needing to make a single stop.
Many sport-touring riders seem to despise interstate travel. While it’s not my favorite way to burn a tire, I truly don’t mind. Ensconced on the R1200ST as it comfortably floats down the road with the xm radio piping tunes into my helmet, I can ride all day without being bored. With my body happy and relaxed into the ST’s bent over riding position, I can go for hours without a stretch. I tend to keep my feet on the pegs and body tucked in slightly. My eyes constantly scan the road and my mirrors, analyzing the probable actions of the vehicles around me while my lips move to the music.
The sun had just set when I made my final fuel stop. According to the GPS, I had another 180 miles to go and would arrive home around 9pm. I called my parents to give an update on my ETA before gearing back up with my electric vest.
As full dark approached, the temperature dropped. My new HID bulb replacement was putting plenty of light down the road, so I had none of my usual night-vision problems.
A warm shower and some homemade Zuppa Toscana was waiting for me when I rolled into the garage around 8:45pm after one of my longest ever days on the road.
I had never before thought of winter as an ideal time to take a long road trip. This might need to become a new holiday tradition.