ďThe real cycle you're working on is a cycle called 'yourself'.Ē
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Austin, TX to Austin, TX: West on 6th Street to Lamar Boulevard North, then back south again. (MAP)

THE DETAILS:
The weatherman is calling for rain today, and itís about time Iíve seen some of the wet stuff.  Iím beginning to forget what it looks like.  Believe it or not, the last time I rode in the rain was Day 34 when I headed south out of Park City.  I was in it all day long.  But that was over 10,000 miles ago.  This seems quite unbelievable to me, especially considering Iíve since ridden through places like Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California.  And itís been nothing but sunny skies and dry roads.  Somebody up there must like me.

But today I don the rain gear, putting my Gore-Tex liners into my BMW riding suit, and head out of the hotel.  The skies are grayer than a bankerís suit and the clouds bubble with anticipation.  The doorman at The Driskill looks at the threatening sky then looks at me in my motorcycle gear.  He just shakes his head.   We both know Iím about to get very wet.

But I donít.  Itís just happens that today is a rest day and time for another motorcycle service stop.  I ride about five miles to Austinís Lone Star BMW, pull the bike around back, and then the skies open up.  It rains solid for the next four hours, but Iím safely ensconced in the dealership.  Iíve been spared once again.

I haven't had a day off in quite some time, and neither has the bike.  Since Eugene, Oregon, to be exact:  23 days and 6,000 miles ago.  This constant motion, this constant feeling of moving all the time, makes you want to stop for a minute.  To stop and reflect on what you've done and look forward to the end.  With over 24,000 miles on the dial, the R1100RS needs a major service.

Lone Star BMW is another great BMW shop.  Iíve been fortunate with the high quality of the dealerships Iíve visited, and Lone Star is no exception.  Bruce, the service manager, writes up the order, and Michael the mechanic gets to work on the bike.  It will be a lengthy service, as the bike needs a full check-up and fluid change, as well as new rubber on both wheels.  It turns out that the rear brake pads also need to be replaced, which is not uncommon after 24,000 miles.

Lone Star is a large dealership, with a large location, but they are planning to move about a mile away to a different spot.  The shop has five service bays, and the accessory department is a store unto itself.  There must be over 100 helmets on display.  I donít think I've seen anything like that before, but everything is bigger in Texas, right?  Stoney, the accessory manager, has spent the last few years touring the world on his motorcycle.  Now heís using his real world experience to advise riders on gear for their journeys.

By early afternoon, the rain has ended and the bike is ready.  I carefully head back to the luxury of The Driskill on my new tires.  I have to keep reminding myself that the new rubber is a bit slippery and Iíll have to remember that tomorrow as well.  By now, Iíve heard more than one story of the customer who picked up his newly shoed motorbike, only to wipe-out on the first turn out of the parking lot.  New tires need to be scuffed up a bit to knock off the factory coating.

Tonight is the night before Halloween, and there is a party going on outside, right along 6th Street.  After dinner at Louieís 106, I join the festivities and gawk at the costumed crowds flowing into the avenue.  Live music blasts from the numerous saloons, with different beats every few doorways down the street.  For ten blocks the street is closed to traffic and crowds fill the space.  I drift along with the masses, getting lost in the neon and the noise.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 8.2
Total Miles: 22,444
Time on Motorcycle: 21 Minutes
Average Speed: 23.7 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (TX)
Total States Visited: 33
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 0
NPS Stamp Totals: 169 Stamps, 30 States
Weather: Rain, heavy at times, although none while I was on the motorcycle.
Number of brand new K1200LTs on the floor of Lone Star BMW: 4

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
ďStand Close. Itís Shorter Than You ThinkĒ Ė sign on the wall above the urinal at Lone Star BMW, Austin, Texas

RANDOM PASSINGS:
While Iím waiting as the bike is being serviced today, I walk across the street and check out Central Market.   Iíve seen some nice supermarkets and grocery stores in my time, but this one takes the prize.  The produce at this place is simply astounding.  There are more than 40 different types of apples, half of which Iíve never even heard of.  Names like Crispin, Fuji, Pink Lady, Jonathan, Jona Gold, and Ginger Gold. The list goes on.  There are eight different types of apples from New York State alone. And then there are the squash. 22 different types of squash.  11 different kinds of pears. 20 specimens of potatoes, 4 varieties of yams and I donít even want to try to count the onions.  Iím starting to get dizzy.

 


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