Have Cup Will Travel: Part Five
We left Hood and headed north on gravel. A short run on tarmac led us to Hwy 82 and east of Munster. By that time, we where hungry. Riding off tarmac is not a passive activity: slide forward, squeeze the tank between the knees, push down on the inside peg, and roll the throttle open. Scoot back on the seat, point elbows out, lower your center of gravity and let the front end wiggle underneath you while your arms go along for the ride as a gentle guide. And roll the throttle open. Gettin' jiggy with it now. At some point that morning I realized I was leaking. A tell-tale stain down the forks suggested leaky seals. A wet low back and butt did more than suggest a leaking CamelBack. Mental note: I'll be doing forks soon but the CamelBack can wait. On the way to Decatur that morning, the DR was up to its tricks of coughing, sputtering, and skipping. Every stop -red light, stop sign- was a fight of not letting it die once I rolled on the throttle to take off. A bit of coaxing was required with short throttle chops and a few expletives. In Decatur we tried a quick fix of increasing the idle, which resolved the stopping at the gate issue. But it still had emphysema. I think we need some quality carb time. Like changing diapers, cleaning the carb just has to be done sometimes. Otherwise, the DR handled like a well-sprung young pony. It's a prancer, a racer, a crawler and a gravel-spitter. It stole my heart. Not as lithe and nimble as my favorite Sherpie girl, but the DR outperform on torque, handling off-road terrain (what gravel? I didn't feel any.), and suspension. We -the engine, suspension, growl and those high-heeled tires- we bonded that day. "Baby, let's go for a ride." Vroooooommmmm................ After a welcomed lunch we gassed up and searched for more gravel, heading north again. We passed cows, horses, goats, sheep, Texas 'grasshoppers' and Texas 'flowers', and perfectly cylindrical bales of hay. We found a back road that wound through tall overhanging trees, rode over creeks and passed humble farm houses. Don led the way since he has explored this territory before on his DR. We pulled off the gravel onto two-track where a large structure loomed. We dubbed it 'Alcoa' because it is nearly entirely made of aluminium: siding, roof, window casing, doors. Even the propane tank is painted with aluminum. We surmised that it had once been a church, a school, a meeting 'house', and some type of a lodge. Our hunch was confirmed later by a local, who also added that it was, and is, the Masonic Lodge upstairs. We geared up again and continued down the two track which became more narrow as we went along. We passed a small cemetery which has been neglected; grass was as high as the stones. We stopped at the Marysville cemetery and parked underneath a large tree for shade. (we seemed to zero in quickly on shade when it was available) Marysville is another ghost town. It suffered the same fate as several communities in the area when most of the land -farmers land, town land, public land- was absconded by public domain to become a military training camp. All of that land -59,000 acres- shortly became a POW camp for Germans. "Sorry, you have to drop your lives and everything you have invested in it and leave." But that is all another story for another time (after we visit again). We wandered around again, revisiting history and events during those days. A familiar pattern finally captured me and I asked about why people put up fences around grave sites. I can't quite figure that one out. Some are quite ornate, others look like a concentration camp. Are they afraid the deceased are going to get up and leave? Is it a territorial thing? I still scratch my head on that one. We found another Woodsmen of the World, one of the three most common styles. Even Bryan was interested in this now. Matilda is the oldest born that we found in all the cemeteries that weekend: 1804. And she almost lived to 80 years old. While the fellas were sitting underneath a large tree, I was drawn to an image, a type of ironic symbol in a cemetery. A tree in its death throes. On our way out, we found the namesake of Montague County: Daniel Montague. He was the primary surveyor in that area, and, back in those days, the surveyors had first pick of land tracts and were often paid in land. And here are the two brothers: DR 350 and 650. Geared up and ready to go, we were on a quest of sorts for a place (yes, another ghost town) called Sivell's Bend near the Red River.
Labels: dirt, Texas