The tour of Texas continues with a leisurely ride into Austin.
Day 4 – November 10th, 2019 – Sonora, Texas to Austin, Texas: ~200 miles
Missed Day 3? November 9th, 2019 – Las Cruces, New Mexico to Sonora, Texas: ~480 miles
In a town called Junction, Texas I stopped at the “Deer Horn” tree. I’m more of a city boy, so I didn’t know what Kimble Processing referred to as I wondered why such a tree would even exist.
While I was looking up directions to my next stop, a pickup truck pulled up and two guys dressed in camouflage got out. They dropped the tailgate and pulled out a deer carcass. Well, now I know what “processing” means.
Two minutes later, another truck showed up and the scene repeated itself. I was so fascinated that I just stood on the sidewalk and watched. In a ten minute span, four trucks full of deer and happy hunters came through, and then I realized Junction could have a whole Deer Tree Forest if they wanted to.
This longhorn was built from a variety of recycled car and motorcycle parts in 2006 by Bettye Hamblen Turner. Some parts are allowed to rust so that the sculpture changes over time. She’s built at least five of the longhorn sculptures, each of which is named. This one, in Johnson City, is either called Marathon or Palladin, depending on which source you trust.
This hole isn’t very impressive, but it’s got quite a story behind it. The hole is actually approximately 150 feet deep (though it’s since been filled in) and it was caused by a buildup of natural gas. It was discovered in 1821, but it didn’t become famous until the Civil War. Long story short, pro-secession extremists murdered Union affiliates and were thrown into the hole – some were given the pretense of a “trial” next to the hole before they were killed.
It’s quite a tale, and varying say that anywhere between 15 and 40 bodies were thrown into what would become known as Dead Man’s Hole.
Though I would end up covering about 200 miles today, this was the only day of the trip where I didn’t stop for fuel.
RANGEOne of the most important things for a touring rider is how long you can stay in the saddle for – both in terms of fuel range and personal comfort.
The Guzzi easily handles the former with a healthy 6.1 gallon tank. Obviously, how many miles you’ll get out of that depends on your riding style. I saw estimated ranges as low as 175 miles and as high as 305 miles from the V85’s dash after filling up based on how I had been recently riding. Over the entire 3,000+ mile trip, I averaged 42.5 miles per gallon (and it could have been quite a bit higher but I spent most of time on the freeway around 80 mph). That works out to an average range of about 260 miles/tank.
But all that fuel doesn’t do you any good if you’re uncomfortable. Thankfully, the V85 TT is a pleasant place to sit. I would end up doing 950 miles on the last day of my trip and at the end I felt like I could have done more without a problem – the ergonomics are good.
My general rule is that most stock seats are bad, and this is one of the least worst. I’d start to feel pressure after about 45 minutes of sitting in the same spot, but the seat-to-tank junction is narrow so your hips are comfortable, the sculpted tank has plenty of room for your knees, there’s enough room to move around on the seat, and there’s a little hump that’s very helpful to push up against every once in a while.
Legroom is better than expected with a “midsize” ADV bike as the pegs are low, though the trade-off is you can scrape pegs in corners often. Considering the style of bike, I think it’s a good trade. Throughout the course of my trip, there were only two things I wanted from the V85 for more comfort – a taller windshield and heated grips. Both are optional accessories, which is totally fair. In fact, as was announced at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show, 2020 brings a new model of the V85 TT called the Travel. It’s basically everything I would want from this bike, minus the tubed tire situation we already discussed.
As standard features, the Travel gets a taller screen with 60% surface area, heated grips, accessory LED lights, plastic side-loading bags, and an exclusive livery called Sabbia Namib. It also gets the Michelin Anakee tires from the Adventure model. Swap those out for the Tourances on the base bike and you’d have a great, quirky road tourer.
Guzzi has addressed most of my issues with the new model, so keep your eyes open for the Travel in your local dealership soon. For now, let’s get back to the regular V85 TT…
An Italian bike with a French tower outside of a Mexican restaurant. Interestingly enough, this 1/50th scale (21 feet tall) was actually built in France in 1989. I just don’t understand why it’s next to a Tex-Mex joint. It lights up at night, but I wasn’t going to stick around for that.
Instead, I headed to Austin. I was planning on meeting a childhood friend but she wasn’t able to make her schedule work, so I found myself with a couple of hours to kill. A friend recommended that I check out a place called the Little Longhorn Saloon because they do something a bit odd on Sunday afternoons…
I was less excited about this Hayabusa – the bike itself was fun (and such an odd thing to ride on city streets), but it was loud as hell and the rider didn’t realize how annoying he was being by leaving it idle in the parking lot while he did a fourteen-point turn to get into a parking space.
It was truly an odd thing to watch, and it was good for a laugh. The fate of several hundreds of dollars of winnings was down to this guy’s poop. I enjoyed a beer (Shiner Bock, of course) and stuck around for one round, then I left to catch up with a buddy.
Almost every year that Nathan and I go to Austin for MotoGP, we end up visiting Terry Black’s BBQ. Normally there’s a huge line, but no one was waiting on this cold Sunday evening so I had to get some for myself. As good friends do, I made sure to rub it in Nathan’s face.
The gas log remains the same (I didn’t get any gas today):
1. Banning, CA
2. Blythe, CA
3. Casa Grande, AZ
4. Willcox, AZ
5. Deming, NM
6. Fort Hancock, TX
7. Alpine, TX
8. Ozona, TX
9. Fredericksburg, TX
10. Selma, TX
11. Sonora, TX
Tomorrow, I’ll get to check out some oddball imported JDM bikes!