THE ADVENTURES OF 'RT & ST'THE ABILENE TOUR SEPTEMBER 2006Our real tour starts when we cross the Brazos River. The problem is we are parked near the banks of Village Creek just South of I-30. Some freeway running is needed to escape this concrete jungle known as D/FW Metro Mess.Allow me to introduce myself and my running buddy. My official model designation is Honda ST1100, but I go by names such as ST Eleven, Pan European, Sport Touring or just 'ST'. My running buddy, you will see in the following photos, is a BMW R1100RT sometimes called Beemer, Oil Head, or just 'RT'. Please excuse his Stainetune exhaust rumble and popping. You might say this is not our first rodeo. We have seen lots of two lane highways in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas and we don't plan on this being the last one.Cloudy skies and a few sprinkles give us a cool 70's for our run out of town. It's seems like we have been through months of hot, dry weather, but a couple of showers and a break in the heat in the country side is making it seem more like May than early September in North TEXAS. In this part of the state, the rocky hills are covered with Juniper and Mesquite. The view gets pretty good east of Mineral Wells between Cool and the cuts in the hills that overlook the old Fort Walters location. On US180 just west of Mineral Wells, we cross the Brazos near what is called Bath Bend. It looks like a lot of water for this time of year. On the Mesa north of the highway overlooking the town of Palo Pinto, is one of the largest abandoned airfields we might ever see. At one time they were storing a very large number of FEMA- looking travel trailers near the old hangers, but they were moved probably a little further south. We cross the Palo Pinto Mountain Range when we end up on the world famous TX 16, the number one 'TEXAS two-lane' at Metcalf Gap. Then TX 16 turns north at Brad, winding its way past Possum Kingdom Lake to Graham. We continue west on US180 into Stephens County.Stephens County Seat Breckenridge shows signs of an aging Oil Boomtown. The granite court house was rebuilt and enlarged to a very impressive size when the county was flush with oil profits. US180 takes us right over the Hubbard Creek Reservoir into Shackleford County and Albany, TEXAS. The sheriff of Shackleford County tells us his county is one of the least populated counties in the state with only three thousand inhabitants. The court house is smaller than most court houses in Texas. It is in very good standing and remains very well maintained. The sheriff's office and jail are located on the very large court house square. The Ice House Restaurant is located across the street from the jail. It shows signs of a real ice plant with docks, doors and a cutting floor. This ice plant also produces some pretty good Mexican food. The Jail House Museum on the south side of the Square seems out of place in Albany. It possesses the quality and design of art museums you would see in Dallas or Houston. One can go upstairs and see the old cells with autographs on the wall. We stopped at the original Sinclair station on the north side of the Square, but we could not find the bank card slot to turn the pump on. The landscape in this part of West Texas is high plains with some scrub mesquite. We turn southwest on TX351 about nine miles west of Albany. From a distance, it looks like an outcrop of cell phone towers, but the construction sign reads 'Lone Star Wind Farm' which gives us the clue. They are really big when you get close. I want to go back when they get the blades on and the windmills generating. The tall buildings and other structures on Abilene Christian University's campus can be seen for miles before you get into town. The well landscaped area and the sculptures are worth the visit. They recently completed the 'Jacob's Ladder' sculpture near the entrance. I was very impressed by this work of art. The downtown area of Abilene near the T & P buildings has been restored to its old glory. The Grace Museum was once a grand hotel. Just down the street is the Paramount Theater with a ticket booth out front and all the fancy trim inside and out. The entertainment of Frontier Abilene sounds very interesting, but it was time to roll on. TX 36 takes you southeast by the airport and the fairgrounds. Now the countryside is covered with large oaks and pecans with large green pastures, some irrigated. On the outskirts of Cross Plains there are signs of range fires that did so much damage last year. Downtown Cross Plains is still alive with a lot of occupied storefronts and well maintained streets and sidewalks. It looks just like it did in the 50's. We checked out Johnson's Dry Goods and were very impressed with the western wear stock on hand and its great shape. East of Rising Star we switched onto FM 587. Sipe Springs is about twelve miles east and you need to be watching on the north side of the road for the flag pole with the confederate battle flag. The monument to the veterans of the Confederate Army that inhabited this part of West Texas was constructed by the Sons and Daughters of Confederate Veterans. At DeLeon we took TX 6 to Dublin, home of the oldest Dr Pepper plant in Texas. Highway US 377 takes us through Stephenville to Granbury. Both well worth a long visit but our daylight was running out and we couldn't see the scenery at night. The Chop'n Block Bar-B-Q in Granbury, is a quick and easy stop. Highway US 377 takes us north of Granbury, and then FM1187 gets us back into the D/FW Metro Mess. After thirteen hours and 380 miles we completed another GREAT 'RIDE TEXAS'.
This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Texas. This motorcycle route has 11 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by ST1100 in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by ST1100