Texas, of course! We bundled up early Saturday morning and prepared to head to Mineral Wells, Texas for our first organized ride of the season. Temperatures ranged from low to mid forties, with my thermometer splitting the difference at 45 degrees. It was one of those crisp, steel grey mornings that make you want to curl up and read detective novels.
Jennifer and I arrived early to watch the setup and get an early start. This ride was a little unusual in that while there was indeed a destination, there was no real purpose other than enjoying the ride and having a good time.
The destination was Dublin, Texas, specifically the Dr. Pepper bottling plant. In order to have successfully completed the run and be eligible for prizes, participants needed to bring back a bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper.
Since the ride was not really a “group” ride with no set route, folks were free to ride in small groups or as individuals choosing their own pace and route. Plenty of time was allowed to complete the ride, plus whatever sightseeing you would want to do.
This part of Texas is called the “Gateway to Hill Country,” and there is not really a bad way to get to Dublin. We chose the direct route heading due south on US 281 and bearing west on Hwy 377 to Dublin. This route is fairly straight 70 mph riding, the views are great though.
Dublin is typical of quite a lot of small Texas towns, quaint and mostly quiet. The Dr. Pepper plant is the oldest in the country and is definitely worth a visit. And the park at William T. Miller’s Grist Mill is a nice place to sit back and enjoy the day. The town was founded by A.H. Dobkins in 1854 and named in 1860, either after the town in Ireland or the command given during Indian raids “double in.”
On the return trip, we elected to head out FM6 to FM16. If Texas FM4 is sport bike heaven, then FM16 was built for cruisers, built wide and smooth with graceful curves and elevation changes that give way to panoramic vistas. Traffic was light and we made good time with the trip meter on the Glide reading a modest 144 miles at the end.
Back at Smitty’s there were door prizes and different drawings, including a 50/50. Randy Shank won the prize for being the 17th person through the door which was a new pair of chaps, and Missy Stone competed for the person wearing the most green, a contest that eventually wound up coming down to the color of the participants’ underclothes. It probably would have been a good time for a Shamrock Tattoo. At any rate, there was a tie, not the kind you wear, and enough noise that I wasn’t sure who really won.
Hog Leg joined us again this year with a couple of new faces in the band, and they continued to crank out the tunes. And, as usual, we had everything from American to metric. Even the “King of Green” Kermit the Frog was aboard one of the scoots.
There were around 200 folks registered, and I believe a fine time was had by all. In memory of the day, Jennifer and I would like to leave you with an Irish blessing:
May love and laughter light your days
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
By Michael P. Lousha