I traveled solo down to New Braunfels,TX a few weeks ago for Giddy Up vintage and chopper show. I decided to leave day early, and it was a bold decision to say the least.
I tried to beat the oncoming storm getting out of Tennessee, but it did more harm than good. About 150 miles out, it started raining pretty good, so I stopped to quickly put on my rain gear that i purchased the week prior from amazon.com. It’s a pair of rip stop overalls and jacket made by a company called Viking(Open Road). It turned out to be the best 40$ investment I think I have ever made. If you travel a lot by motorcycle, or even if you don’t, and hate riding in the rain, I high advise getting a pair, they won’t let you down. The set I have(rip stop 150-D) rolls up pretty good for space efficiency, plus I’ve learned that carrying rain gear with you of any kind is always helpful. even when the weather calls for no rain, its inevitable that it will rain if you don’t bring it along. It definitely came in handy for the first day of this trip. Eventually, I rode as long as i could, which was about 25 miles, before I noticed cars were stopping under overpasses to wait out the storm. That’s usually a sign that you won’t make it too much further on a motorcycle without getting yourself in serious danger and discomfort. Minutes before I decided it was time to stop, I saw, and felt, nearly golf ball sized hail coming from above, dinging off of my headlight, and all over my body. I seemed to have made the right decision at the right time, as soon as i stopped, winds were very high, and the rain was like a fire hose from the sky. I ended up being stuck under the overpass for an hour and a half before it somewhat calmed down enough to ride the 10 miles to the nearest motel for the night. My camping plans unfortunately became out of the question, even if it stopped raining. As I as geared back up to head to the cheapest and closest motel, I noticed my (Biltwell) bubble shield was missing. I must have walked back and forth on the side of the road about 5 times with my headlamp. I couldn’t believe that it could have gotten any further than i was looking. When I was about to give up, I crossed the highway in hopes that the wind just blew straight across. I wasn’t entirely wrong. I walked back towards the way the wind was blowing about 50 feet, and there it was off the side of the highway, banged up, but still usable.
I arrived at the Motel 6 looking and feeling like I was just in a tropical storm, which by the looks I was getting and conversations I had, wasn’t far off. After tearing down my bike of all the luggage, I quickly disrobed in the motel room, only to find out the only parts of me that were wet was the bottom 6-8 inches of my jeans and boots. most of everything else was dampness from sweating. Again, always bring rain gear! (Thanks Viking)
The next day I had to make up some lost miles on my way down to New Orleans, since my frist day was cut short. I now had to ride over 500 miles. I somehow managed to this in just about 11 hours flat, riding in my maximum gas tank compacity 120-130 mile intervals. Riding over Lake Pontchartrain via the I-10, was probably one the best and coolest landscapes I have ever ridden in, and one of the highlights of the trip. I did not know I was going to be going over the 10 mile long bridge until I was on it. I also managed to time it perfect, and catch the sunset as I was crossing it, which made it that much better.
Getting into New Orleans, I had the luxury of staying with co-founder of 30on2, Max. We immediately exchanged hugs and high fives, with beers to follow. Being in a new city gave me a second wind, and recharged my energy level to 100 pretty fast. I’ve always loved and accepted new places since I have traveled a good amount of the last decade or so, on top of the travels I did growing up on family trips. To this day, that excitement never goes away. Even if its somewhere I don’t want to be for a short period of time, it still fills that gap of never knowing what its like, and to experience at first hand. The two days I spent in New Orleans was definitely not enough, but now I know what the city holds, and that I would love to go back at any chance.
Staying that extra day, I then had to ride another 500+ miles to the small town of New Braunfels, TX in one day. After reaching Houston, I experienced some of the worst riding conditions i have ever encountered. Even beating out the rain I went through on the first day of this trip. to me, there’s only one thing worse than rain when your on a motorcycle, and that is wind. The wind was around 30-40 mph for the last 3-4 hours of my day into New Braunfels. It was so bad that I couldn’t go over 50 mph without it feeling like I was being pushed by snow plow off the road at times. It did not make the following 200 miles any fun, but all i could do was keep riding, and keep hoping it would let up in the slightest. it wasnt until I got into town that my body(and mind) could release some of its tension and strain.
Once I arrived and met up with some friends from Arizona, things seemed to slowly feel right again, and I was able to relax and have fun. Being around an environment such as Giddy Up, or any like event, especially with some of your good friends, will do wonders for your stress levels. As much as it was horrible getting there, it was all worth it. No matter how many times I wanted to just quit riding for the day, the bigger picture always has to be in your mindset. Traveling on a motorcycle will change the way you think, and make decisions. Sometimes those decisions don’t seem to be right at the time, but not making them could be even more drastic.
As I made my way back to Johnson City for the remainer of the trip, I camped at KOA’s(Texarkana, Memphis), stayed with friends, and even a hostel in Nashville on the last night. I suauly wing it when it comes to finding places to sleep on trips like this, you neve rknow what is going to happen and where. I like to set destination goals for myself, and if i get there with no issues, great! if not, its good toto have a back up plan, or just wing it, which tends to be a recurring thing.
-Sean Reilly // 30on2
Here’s a short video of the trip.