Austin was to be a bit of a rest for me. I was going to stay with an old friend Raven and his wife Kat on their ST1300, as well as see some other friends and do some maintenance on the bike. The front tire was due for replacement, the rear wheel bearings were shot, and it was time for an oil change.
I got into Austin mid-day on Saturday and linked up with my friend, where our first order of business was to get the front wheel off so we could get the tire changed. For some reason, motorcycle shops in Austin aren't open Sunday & Monday, so we wanted to get the wheel to the shop before they closed that day. Some kitty litter helped balance the bike on the center stand to raise the front end.
After getting the front wheel and it's new rubber back on, it was time to attack the rear of the bike. The old bearings were beyond fucked, and is probably why the rear tire was worn out so quickly. There was so much play in them it was unreal.
Aside from my friend Raven and his wife, I also needed to use this time to see an old friend of mine Megan, who is the end result of someone cross-breeding a kitten with a cupcake.
So Sunday, we all piled onto the bikes for a day trip into Texas hill country. Raven and his wife on their ST1300, and Megan and I on my V-Strom
Megan was on camera duty, which she used to take pictures of everything she could see. Which was mostly the back of my head.
But then she discovered that she could take pictures of herself in my rear-view mirror
We got out of Austin and headed west, to where there's some elevation change, twisty roads and general prettiness.
One of the roads had a lot of low areas that flood regularly, and this one neat water crossing that looked to always be flooded
Unfortunately . . . this is where things went wrong :(
It turns out that the constant flow of water had polished the concrete to a mirror-smooth finish, and there was a good coating of algae growing on it. I know people often use "slick as ice" as a term to describe anything slippery, but that is not an exaggeration at all in this case. It really was SO slick that it was difficult to walk on, let alone control a motorcycle over.
Raven & Kat went through first at barely 5-10mph, and I was only about 20 feet behind them when all of the sudden the back of the ST slid out to one side, then snapped back to the other side and went down, dumping Raven and Kat off and spinning 180 degrees to face the other way.
Of course, I was right behind them, and through only dumb luck was able to avoid them and keep my Wee upright. And I only BARELY kept it up, the bike was sliding around all over the place under me and I was just a split second from dumping it.
Raven at Kat were a little bruised, but okay. Kat is still recovering from a broken shoulder she suffered a few months ago as a result of a wipeout on her GS650, but fortunetly there didn't seem to be any more damage. They both landed on their elbows and shoulders, and it's likely that the armor in their jackets saved them both from painful injuries. [b]Get good gear, and ALWAYS wear it.[/b]
Raven was able to pick it back up himself (how the hell did he do that with a 700lb bike?), and at least get it out of the road.
Of course, to add insult to injury, just after we moved it, some old guy on a Goldwing rolled right through like it was nothing. Maybe we just suck at motorcycles.
We then set about what any good motorcyclist does after they wipe out; taking pictures of everything around us.
Megan and I discovered that with a little bit of a run, we could go sliding for quite a ways on the super-slick pavement. So we did, because we are both very mature like that.
(Damn do I look cool in that suit or what?! :D)
Anyway, after we got the OMGCRAAAAASH adrenalin out of our systems, we carried on.
It just wouldn't be a motorcycle trip if we didn't stop for ice cream!
And then booze at this little local winery that Raven and Kat both like a lot.
(That's actually a lousy picture of all three of them, but Megan's deer-in-the-headlights facial expression is just too adorable to not post)
By the time we got back to Austin it was dark, but we were all still not ready to stop riding, so we headed out for some BBQ!
Raven and I's day wasn't quite over yet. We dropped off the ladies, and then we headed out to an IHOP to meet another gooney friend, Korwen, for a few hours of swapping travel and vehicle stories, and probably annoying the waiter that we spend hours there and ordered nothing but a few cups of hot chocolate. But hey, isn't that what IHOP is for?
Raven and Korwen being suave and cool, and me being . . . me.
I decided that I needed to spend one more day in Austin, mostly just to hang out with Megan some more. She and I had actually met 7 years ago at a Rennisance Fair (Hey, shut up. It's where all the hot nerd girls hang out), and for some reason have managed to stay in very regular e-mail contact for the whole time. This was only the second time in the last 7 years that we'd gotten face-to-face time, and dammit we were going to make the most of it.
We ended up hanging out at this weird little quirky coffee shop that seemed to be a destination for all the hipsters of the city, Spider House I think it was called. Either way, they had tasty natchos!
And I kept trying to take sneeky photos of Megan, but she kept noticing and making funny faces to screw it up.
Anyway, we were there talking for like 8 hours, occasionally pestering our waiter for drinks and munchies. I felt sorry for staying there so long, so I ended up giving her a $15 tip on a $35 bill. Hopefully that made up for it?
Anyway, that was about the extent of my time in Austin. It was great being able to see my friends again, even if I wasn't QUITE able to convince Raven to quit his job, pack his bike up and follow me west.
Although I did see this going out of town.
*giggle* Oh, I'm such a grown-up.