Solo Ride
Part I
May 31

Intense Effort

First Stop

I thought long and hard on when and where I wanted to go on my annual solo trip. As much as I love traveling around Texas, and even though I have not seen all of Texas – has anyone? – I had a gnawing urge to see New Mexico and visit my friends; Wolf and Spider Boop. Looking at the map, I realized that the Palo Duro Canyon was half way between my apartment and Wolf's lair. I love the Palo Duro. I'd never camped there and figured this was as good a time as any. I checked the schedule for the play produced in the canyon each year. Come to find out, this was going to be the 50th anniversary. The bad news was, the play didn't start until 2 days after I would be camping there. The good news is – Palo Duro is half way between Wolf's lair and my apartment – I could camp there on my way back and see the play, "TEXAS". My plan was coming together. I checked with Wolf and Spider Boop and was given the nod to stay for 3 nights. All I had to do is book the Palo for a couple of nights on the return trip. I not only wanted to see the play but I also wanted to have the chuckwagon dinner I had heard so much about. Done and done. The ducks were in the parade and the drum major blew the whistle. The journey was about to begin.

As long as I've know about it, Lake Bridgeport has always been notoriously low. There is no feeder to the lake. When a dry spell hits, the residents impatiently wait for rain. In 2015 they not only did not have to wait for rain, folks were hoping that it would stop. A couple of days before I rode through, the water spilled onto the road. I would have had a very wet experience getting to the other side of Runaway Bay. I briefly stopped, snapped a couple of shots, and I was back on my way to Jacksboro, the prairie beyond, and then the Palo Duro Canyon.
Loving Texas
My hobby, or I should say, one of my hobbies, is to take pix of town signs with my bike in them. I prefer to get the license plate – AETR (Any Excuse To Ride) – in the pic, but that isn't always possible.

There was that time where, after a long period of rain, I tried to position my bike for a shot in Fink, Texas. Trying to exit my bike, my heel caught on the seat and Amana – my current bike's name is Amana (Dayum She's White, I call her Amana for short) – followed me down the embankment, bending the brake lever, gashing the saddle bag and bringing along with her, extreme embarrassment, wrapped in a bow, for little ol' me. I'm a little more careful about where I set up my shots.

This is a long way to say, I had several towns I planned on stopping in to get my town sign pix.

Loving was one of the signs I really wanted. Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight are legends in Texas history. They revolutionized the cattle industry by driving ornery, sometimes wild, Texas cattle to the railroad. They made themselves a good bit of cash doing so. If Oliver hadn't died of gangrene you never know what the two could have accomplished.

Unfortunately, there were no town signs in Loving. Like several other unusually named town signs, people steal them. The town tires of replacing them and simply doesn't. The next town along my path, Jean, also didn't have a sign. I came across this phenomenon in Fairy and Bugscuffle, Texas. I stopped at the only sign that said Loving on it – snap.
After crossing the prairie along TX-114 I hooked up with US-82. The stretch to Dickens is a long uphill climb. After gassing up in Dickens I stopped to take a shot of the other side.
The Other Side
I Was Happy
I had been disappointed twice on this trip. I really hoped that the Happy sign would be there. As luck would have it, it was. I took way too many shots of the Happy sign, but by gawd, I was going to make sure I got it. Happy is located just south of Canyon, Texas were you will find the crossroad that leads you to the Palo Duro Canyon. I was off – in search of Canyon and TX-217. I was really close.
Stop For Gas & Grub
I wasn't sure what I could get to eat in the Canyon so I stocked up on a bit of stuff, including a huge torpedo sandwich, some Cheeseits, and a very large, cold, Coors beer.

I ate half the sandwich for dinner and the other half for breakfast. It was that big!

I have to admit, I was a little excited. This has been a long-time dream of mine. I wanted everything to be perfect.
The First Shot
After checking in at the Ranger's Station and a very short ride, you come to the first overlook. Looking to the east south east, it will be your first real view of the canyon. It is an easy stroll to the gift shop. If you've never been to the shop, it is a must. There are the usual trinkets. You'll also discover some quality items that you may not be able to live without.
A Little Info
From the Palo Duro Rim
This is basically the same shot as above, with a barren tree added in the foreground to give it that artsy look. In other words, I moved to the left about 10 feet.
Camp View
This is my view from the chair I parked in front of my tent. Try to imagine sitting in your camp chair with a huge torpedo sandwich in one hand, crackers on your lap, and a very large, cold, refreshing beverage in the other hand. It was tough to take; you know that someone had to do it.
A Walk-About
I took a short hike. This picture was taken about 100 yards from my tent. There is plenty of room to roam.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Wildlife
I didn't have a bird watching camera setup. If that is your thing then don't forget to bring your camera equipment. There are plenty of opportunities to get that "great shot".
Rock Formation
A simple rock formation; sending my mind into wonder and amazement at the creation called Earth.
Thorn and Flower
When the desert blooms it is magnificent!
Day One Coming To A Close
I'm going to say good-bye for now. This is the end of a day and the end of Solo Ride 2015 Part I. I will provide a link to part II at the bottom of the page.


When I get Part II done, this will be the link button. Right now it just sits here lookin' pretty.
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Ride em if ya got em - SSOM

Page One
Ride em if ya got em!