Our tow comes hours after dark and after hundreds of working bikes have ridden past.

The Lone Star Rally and a busted injector

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I’ve done something I don’t normally do. I’ve planned a 700-mile, two-day ride in such detail, that the GPS has to load the route in three segments. Dave usually plans our rides as I can’t stand the limitations of a fixed route. But in this instance, planning is as close as I can get to actually riding while the rainy season pummels Texas.

A look at my Texas maps suggests we head east to the green a blue stuff near Louisiana. Seeing green and blue stuff crisscrossed by ziggy-zaggy black lines is usually a good sign because it means twisty, two-lane wilderness roads.

For the route, we will cruise southeast to Galveston Island, catch a ferry ride to High Island, and then wiggle-waggle our way up the state line to Sabine Forest. We will camp overnight in the park and then loop back south to Houston via several of the popular motorcycle roads along the way.

The route also has the benefit of covering hundreds of miles of new terrain for me. This, I like.

East Texas ride with the planned route shown in dark gray.

East Texas ride with the planned route shown in dark gray.

But, try as we may, plans are merely plans. They’re just meant to sate the planner until actual excitement begins. And on a ride, excitement invariably begins once things fall apart.

We suit up and get on the road a few minutes behind schedule. That’s my fault for not packing the bike the night before. Three-hundred and fifty miles in a day is a long ride to be starting late.

As we merge onto the highway and get a full view of sky, I take a huge breath. The air is so crisp and clean on days like today. The city, the sky, everything looks and feels amazing. What a gorgeous day to be on the road! With perfect weather and a beautiful view of downtown Houston bathed in morning light, what could possibly go wrong?

The “adventure” in the ride gets an early start. Dave realizes his camera battery is empty. Oh, and so is the battery in the remote control for the camera. This means no video until the electrons finish their happy dance. We settle for stills.

Packed and ready to hit the road.

Packed and ready to hit the road.

Dave will record video with his new front-mounted GoPro camera... once he charges the battery, of course.

Dave will record video with his new front-mounted GoPro camera… once he charges the battery, of course.

Downtown Houston looks spectacular in the morning light.

Downtown Houston looks spectacular in the morning light.

Back on the road, we see bikes EVERYWHERE. I know it’s a beautiful day to ride, but the number of bikes on the road today is absolutely astounding! There must be a rally we don’t know about. Well… that I don’t know about.

Dave chimes in on the two-way radio, “The Lone Star Rally in Galveston is this weekend.”

Doh! How did I not know this before now?!

Dozens more bikes scream past us on the freeway. Some riders wave. We know we don’t look the part and truly do appreciate the friendly love. Rarely do rally bikes mingle with touring bikes or scooters. Rally bikes are pretty with all that chrome reflecting the sky and paint jobs that look like tattoos! Touring bikes are the bathe-once-a-year type with scratches, dings, and dents for story time.

I have to hand it to Dave for rocking a plastic scooter with such pride among all this iron.

Galveston's annual Lone Star Rally is this weekend. Everyone is out to breakfast, parking wherever room allows.

Galveston’s annual Lone Star Rally is this weekend. Everyone is out to breakfast, parking wherever room allows.

Sometimes, the parking looks orderly.

Sometimes, the parking looks orderly.

We see riders of all ages, genders, generes; bikes of all types.

We see riders of all ages, genders, generes; bikes of all types.

The city demands $10 to ride or park in the main festival area, downtown. Hundreds of people choose to park along the gulf shore instead.

The city demands $10 to ride or park in the main festival area, downtown. Hundreds of people choose to park along the gulf shore instead.

The colors today are absolutely amazing with a cloudless, blue sky overhead and a chilly gale from the north.

The colors today are absolutely amazing with a cloudless, blue sky overhead and a chilly gale from the north.

Waiting to board the ferry; dozens of rally-bound bikes exit first.

Waiting to board the ferry; dozens of rally-bound bikes exit first.

Very happy to be parking in the lee of the ferry and aft of amidships.

Very happy to be parking in the lee of the ferry and aft of amidships.

These bikes will be doused in salt spray.

These bikes will be doused in salt spray.

A view from the viewing deck.

A view from the viewing deck.

Dave poses with Galveston Island to his rear.

Dave poses with Galveston Island to his rear.

These bikes near the bow are covered in salt spray; some of the riders spend most of the ride wiping down chrome!

These bikes near the bow are covered in salt spray; some of the riders spend most of the ride wiping down chrome!

The ferry lands safely on the Bolivar Peninsula side of the shipping channel. This side is home to High Island. I routinely mistaken it for Long Island for good reason. It is terribly long, and straight, and not very tall despite its name. The “high” in High Island may refer to the stilted buildings. Their school is on stilts! “High” could also refer to the high number of mosquitos or the high cost of fuel.

Both are high enough to want to be high. You know what I mean?

I make this last realization at the gas pump. Dave fills his scooter with some high-priced fuel, and the shirtless young man at the other pump catches my eye. You’d have to be high to be shirtless in this weather. He has his hands firmly planted against the trunk of his car. His legs are spread just wider than his shoulders in a stance I very much approve.

And then, the copper patting him down does a very decent job searching his pockets.

Dave and I are of course trading *volumes* of non-verbals. His two wide eyes match my two wide eyes in an exclamation of “oh my god!” If only Dave’s scooter held more than two gallons, we could extend the show!

We overhear the copper mention narcotics, and all becomes clear. This is High Island.

So things are looking up. The ride through the rally, the ferry, and the shirtless arrest stand out as highlights of the morning. The dead camera battery was only a short-term inconvenience. We’re 100 miles into the day with 250 yet to go — all north, and all beautiful!

What could possibly go wrong?

Don’t ever ask that question out loud. Something will always answer. Just as we round the corner to head north for Sabine, Dave’s scooter sputters, coughs, and chokes itself to a stop. Disbelief, of course, is first. He can’t be out of fuel; he just filled up! What kind of station sells bad *premium* fuel? Heck, he just had the bike serviced! Acceptance comes later, after we tear the bike to pieces, after we shred the manual, after we scour the Internet for a solution, and most definitely after we find the lone fuel injector busted into two pieces.

This is what we call “adventure.” It starts when plans and expectations tank, when the only comfort you have is knowing you’re prepared to camp anywhere, eat anything, and endure any kind of weather. No one expects failure. We just accept it as a possibility and appreciate that it will give us something fun to write about later.

Dave vehemently disagrees that failure is an occasional possibility. To him, it’s a down-right predictable fact of life.

Just 100 miles into the ride, Dave's bike sputters to a stop.

Just 100 miles into the ride, Dave’s bike sputters to a stop.

Dave calls his dealer and the insurance company for towing quotes, and they want anywhere between $200 and $600.

Dave calls his dealer and the insurance company for towing quotes, and they want anywhere between $200 and $600.

The dealer says they cannot spare anyone to come help because the entire shop is busy with the bike rally. Go figure.

The dealer says they cannot spare anyone to come help because the entire shop is busy with the bike rally. Go figure.

I take to napping and solarizing, of course.

I take to napping and solarizing, of course.

Very happy that the grass on this side of the street is free of stickers.

Very happy that the grass on this side of the street is free of stickers.

May as well eat while we wait for a tow.

May as well eat while we wait for a tow.

And wait. The shadows, already long for the winter, get longer and longer as the sun sets.

And wait. The shadows, already long for the winter, get longer and longer as the sun sets.

The sun sets, and a dinner bell chimes for every darn mosquito this side of the Mississippi to feast.

The sun sets, and a dinner bell chimes for every darn mosquito this side of the Mississippi to feast.

We don jackets, hoods, gloves, and helmets to cover every inch of skin.

We don jackets, hoods, gloves, and helmets to cover every inch of skin.

The flash shows a sky full of flying blood suckers.

The flash shows a sky full of flying blood suckers.

Our tow comes hours after dark and after hundreds of working bikes have ridden past.

Our tow comes hours after dark and after hundreds of working bikes have ridden past.

A special “thank you” goes out to Edwin for coming to rescue us. We are also grateful to the other people who were ready and willing to do the same. Rescuing a stranded biker is a noble cause, and you all deserve high praise!

Dave and I have plans to revisit our Sabine ride before the end of the year. What *else* could possibly go wrong?

Brian

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