April 08 Trip – Day 01

Day 01
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Houston, TX to Lordsburg, NM
918 miles

The skies were still dark as I made my departure. The R1200ST and I hummed down I-10, making good time yet very aware of speed limits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many highway patrol as I did this morning between Houston and San Antonio. LEOs were everywhere! Camped out in ditches, hiding by on-ramps, or just twinkling away as they made someone ELSE’s morning a little more miserable.

I zoomed through the San Antonio area on Loop 1604 just after 9. Morning rush hour was almost over, barely checking my progress.

At my second gas stop’n’snack in Junction, TX (around 11 AM!), I noticed some oil seepage on the left valve cover. During my third stop (in Ft Stockton, TX) it had made itself known with light oil splatters on my boots, pants leg, and sidecase. Analyzing the trail, I decided that the “donut seal” (as Jim VanBaden calls it) had not sealed properly when I reinstalled the valve cover after I did the valve adjust last weekend. I always carry spare oil, so for now I’m watching the oil level. I’ll try to get a chance to pull the cover and reinstall it either in Santa Barbara or at a friend’s house in the Bay Area. I’m assuming that the “donut seal” may easily be ruined at this point. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to call a BMW shop in Santa Barbara (?) or Las Vegas (assuming they’ll be open on Tuesday) to see if I can get a replacement. I can install it…. I just need the part.

The weather had been mostly cool all day. I caught a few sprinkles in the Hill Country, but nothing that inspired me to swap my summer gloves for the waterproof ones. The skies cleared in the afternoon and the temperature rose into the 90s (according to my temperature guage, which can’t always be trusted).

Somewhere in west Texas it occurred to me that an undocumented Saddlesore 1000 (1000 miles in 24hours) was very attainable, or if not that, a Bunburner (1500 miles in 36 hours). I just need to make 1500 miles by something around 4pm Pacific time tomorrow and *I* at least will know that I’m capable.

El Paso was as polluted as ever. I was a little concerned because I was going through around 5pm. It turned out that my only delay was a 5 minute backup as my side of the freeway rubbernecked a particularly spectacular accident that had shut down the other side.

A mini-whirlwind rocked us hard near Deming, causing me to reevaluate my plan. It was starting to get cold and dark clouds hovered over the horizon.

Somewhere between Deming and Lordsburg I abandoned the SS1K idea. The main factor here was that I didn’t want to have to find a motel in Tucson in the dark (I hate staying in large cities). The sun was still in the sky when I checked into a motel in Lordsburg, NM.

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