Gateway Motorcycle Group: Day 4 – The Short Road Home

Well, we’ve had four mornings of waking up before eight o’clock. Just be aware that these blogs posts are only recorded with events that occur after 11:00am, because that’s when my brain wakes up.

Scott told me this morning, rather defiantly I might add, that he is a morning person, and he’s going to wake up early every morning now that we’ve tasted four days of facing the eastern sun. After I stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes, I gave him a supportive pat on the shoulder.

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Today started with an 8:15 kickstands up to head home. It was a long stretch of highway, but Scott and I had a blast because I downloaded an app that lists all the Texas Historical Markers (I know, we’re wild and crazy!). But now that we’re married, Scott has discovered that I have an enormous inner nerd that I successfully hid while we were dating.

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Fortunately, we had hours of highway in front of us, a full charge on our headsets, and a $2.99 app that gave us (mostly me) endless pleasure by learning Texas history. Scott’s not from Texas, so he doesn’t understand that we’re special. Those of you from Texas know this already, so I’m preaching to the choir. I think Scott is duly impressed, and he can now be considered a true Texan.

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One of the first things I had to educate him about was about The Republic of Texas, and how most Texans still think of us as our own country, even though we’re part of the United States.

The second thing I had to educate him about was about The Yellow Rose of Texas and the Battle of San Jacinto. And then we might have sung the song while flying down the highway on a motorcycle. I thought everyone knew about The Yellow Rose of Texas, but I was wrong. I mean, Scott even has a yellow rose tattoo.

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We also determined that we would make terrible farmers, and that Texans pretty much spent the 1800s fighting everyone (Mexico, Native Americans, and the United States). But we’ve had a couple hundred years to practice open-carry. Even the car line moms are packing heat. Don’t mess with Texas.

It’s also pretty incredible to think of people truly settling a homestead or a community and creating something out of nothing. Would you have survived as they did? It makes for an interesting conversation.

We stopped for lunch in Ennis, TX at the Firehouse Grill. It was delicious. And they’re a big supporter of first responders, so you know we love that. I’m not sure what Scott is doing to me in this picture, but his beard is very soft.

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This was the end of the journey for us. We had an amazing lunch, and we’ve been so blessed to be on this trip and get to know people who will be lifelong friends. It’s been a great time of fellowship and friendship, and I can’t wait to do it again.

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We prayed, hugged, and then said goodbye. And then Scott and I headed toward home, where we took a couple of seconds to unload the bike and toss everything on the floor. Then we fell into bed for a nap. Showers followed after we woke, and then Scott decided he needed a haircut. See image below for evidence of said haircut.

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This is the end of this journey, but we’ll be back in November with more travel posts when we head to the Mediterranean for a couple of weeks for the XO Marriage Cruise. Though Scott might not be able to post if he’s being too romantic. We’ll see.

Until then!

Leah

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Gateway Motorcycle Group: Toledo Bend, Louisiana – Day 3

Welcome Home

It wasn’t until we motored past the Welcome to Louisiana state line sign that it hit me. This is my home state. Unfortunately, Toledo Bend is nowhere near my Cajun Country home, but it was good to spend the afternoon back in the Bayou State.

It was another early morning. We don’t do well in the early morning. My bike’s front tire was parked on a wire coat hanger from the night before. One of the guys, Johnny Mercer, said, “I see your bike is hung up.”

I grumbled, “I don’t get it.” It was maybe sometimes after lunch before I thought about it. It was funny.

Pretty In Purple

Today was a little shorter ride. I think it was a bit over 250 miles, and the weather was beautiful. Sunny skies and moderate temps welcomed each mile. The backroads were dotted with lines of these vibrant purple flowers. Leah did a great job snapping a pic as we blew by. I’m not even sure what they are, but they are pretty awesome.

What else would we do in Louisiana but eat. This group has been such a joy to spend all of this time with. Everyone has an incredible and honest story. The way God brings people together is a miracle. It’s lagniappe that we all love motorcycles and eating out.

 

Off The Beaten Path

These were the roads that led us out and back. Endless ribbons of rolling hills and wide, sweeping curves almost rocked Leah to sleep. Well, let’s be honest. It almost put me to sleep too.

This has been so different from any other multi-day ride we’ve done. The first difference is that we’ve never ridden with a group. But it’s been a blast. The other is setting up a “base camp” location in one city. It’s been great not having to repack and unpack every day.

The history and architecture in this area is also incredible. Leah downloaded an app to look up each Historic Marker. We’ve always seen them on our trips but never knew anything about them. Most are local facts about people and places relevant to that area. Texas is full of them. It’s like a living history lesson.

Location, Location, Location

This contraption isn’t historic, but was way too crazy looking to not photograph. It’s a custom deck builder. Do you see the black panther? Yeah, let us know if you figure this out.

Our 6,000 mile road trip over the summer was an altogether epic adventure, but this has been so fun that we’ll do it again before the end of the year. East Texas has fantastic roads with many options to vary your out and back routes.

Nacogdoches is also a fantastic place to set up your base camp. There are plenty of great places to eat and a very cool bike shop, Lumberjack Harley Davidson.

Fellowship

Now to wrap up our last night together, we did what else, but enjoy a meal together. Once again, the food, atmosphere and staff were amazing. This really is a pretty cool town.

One of my friends since childhood, Donna Landry Campo, lives in Nacogdoches and showed me what’s called the “AxEm Jax.” It’s a college hand signal, but I thought she was trying to trick me into tossing gang signs.

So just to be safe, I talked Leah into doing it. See below. So, she’s either showing support for the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks, or has begun a gangland turf war between Nacogdoches  and Dallas.

Well, these days have been lived full tilt and while the biking was fun, the deepening of friendships were the greatest reward.

If your church hosts small groups, find one with a hobby that interests you and join it. If they don’t, find a new church. No, just kidding, but do start one if they don’t. It’s a tremendous way to have fun while fellowshipping.

We will wrap this adventure up with a long haul back home on Tuesday. Thanks again for coming along and God bless you.

Scott

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Piney Woods of Texas – Day 2

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It’s day 2 of the ride with our small group at Gateway Church, and kickstands were up at 8:30 this morning. We showered last night, and I went to bed at 8:45pm. Our alarm went off at 7:30am and we still hit snooze three times.

As most of you know, Scott and I don’t keep regular hours. We’re usually going to bed about the time normal people are waking up to start their work day. But it works for us, and we get more work done with that schedule, so we’ve stopped trying to be “normal.”

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Anyway, we said a quick prayer, threw on some clothes, and were in the parking lot by 8:15. As you can tell by the picture above, it was another scorcher of a day. Scott is full of all kinds of interesting tan lines.

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It was a gorgeous ride to Palestine, which was our first stop of the day. The roads were winding and tree-canopied. Unfortunately, I missed some really good photo opportunities, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you about them. The first photo I missed was of a dog jumping on a trampoline. Trust me, it was awesome. Scott and I both saw it at the same time and laughed hysterically.

The second picture I missed was one of the historic cemeteries we passed. There was a big banner sign stretched across the gothic iron gates that said “Homecoming Party, October 2nd.” Scott was like, “I ain’t going to that party.” I also found this hilarious.

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We stopped in Crockett, TX for lunch at Arnold’s Bar-b-que. I forgot to take any pictures of it or the delicious brisket I had, so I thought I’d post a picture of these cows instead, since it’s generally the same thing. There are a lot of cows in this part of Texas.

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We stopped for gas along the way, and Scott took about a billion selfies on my phone. Are y’all as surprised as I am that his beard still fits in his helmet? Seriously, it’s going to take forever to delete all those selfies.

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We got back on the bike and it was still hot. But the ride was amazing. Truly a beautiful part of the state. We did a big loop for another couple of hours, and I missed a great picture of a man in a horse drawn buggy. That’s pretty much the story of the day–me missing all the good photo opportunities.

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Did I say gorgeous?

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And hot? This was the stop where I dunked my shirt in cold water and put it back on.

The hotel was a welcome sight after a nine hour outing, and the good Doctor and I headed straight for the room and a nap. Which means he took a nap, and I thought about napping, because I’m not a good napper. And then we showered and put on clothes that weren’t covered in road grime so we could head to dinner.

I’ll admit that the food has been outstanding on this trip. Y’all know we pretty much live to eat. I’m glad I brought only stretchy pants.

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Dinner was at Clear Springs Cafe in Nacogdoches, TX, and I had chicken fried ribeye. Yes, you read that right. It was life-changing. I also had peach cobbler. Scott had cheesecake like usual. The company and conversation was as good as the food.

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to posting this and going to sleep. We have another 8:30 kickstands up in the morning. This trip has been so much fun and has been such a blessing. We prayed for a group to get involved with and get close to, and God gave us this one. It’s been awesome.

Scott’s up for the next post (we’re heading to Louisiana), so we’ll catch you tomorrow!

Leah

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Piney Woods of Texas – Day 1

What’s your weather like?

Ours was hot, like really super hot. But the company was cool. Like really super cool.

Leah and I spent this day, and the next three days with our church’s small group. Gateway’s Southlake Riders is a group of motorbike enthusiasts who love Jesus and biking. In that order. Today was the start of our annual Fall Ride.

It was a fantastic start.

The Sleep

But, before I share the details of the bike adventure, it’s only fair to disclose that anyone who knows Leah and I also know we are night owls. For a ride that went kick stands up for 8:00am, it meant we’d either have to go to sleep before 4:00am or just suck it up and power through.

I was half-lidding it most of the way!!! But there’s hope for getting rest tonight. Hope I said, but no certainty.

The Ride

Anyone who’s ever travelled through or lived in Texas knows the joy that is Buc’ees truck stops.

Our group headed out with a goal of avoiding the highways and taking advantage of the matrix of back roads that traverse Texas heading out east toward Nacogdoches.  This area is new to me as is most of Texas, but the countrysides were sweeping and majestic.

The Lunch

From our home to the hotel it was a little over 300 miles, but they were broken up by what else? Meals.

We stopped in Jefferson, Texas for lunch. This is a town of about 2,000 but it’s a very cool and welcoming place. They love motorcycles and the quaint street-side parking is often reserved for bikes. We adore eating with this group of friends. There are honest appetites and no apologies.

What I love most is if you sat next to and began talking to anyone in this group, you’d immediately connect with them. Each has a life story and a spirit of kindness that makes not getting along almost impossible. Although Leah taking their desserts almost started a biker brawl.

We spent some time in downtown Jefferson and found the nostalgia to be welcoming and authentic. Lots of visitors on foot and bike made for a nice afternoon there. I even got to take a pic with my favorite actor from my childhood.

Johnnie and Jean Mercer – It was her birthday – Happy Birthday

 

The Duke and The Chief – I can out draw him
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The Post-Lunch Sleepy

I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for a Snicker’s bar and Leah chatting through the headsets, I would have had to find a shade tree to fade the heat and grab a nap. Yes, I did at 2 and do at 52 enjoy a nap. Just not while cruising along hilly byways on a Harley Davidson. 

But, we persevered and in return got to see some amazing sites and new routes that I think we’ll retrace later in the Fall. We’re also thinking about coming over to watch my undergrad alma mater, Nicholls State University football team play Stephen F. Austin State University later in the season.

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Once we arrived and checked into our hotel, we had a supper reservation for 6:00pm. We carried our gear into our room, and the last thing I remember saying out loud was, “Siri…set alarm for five twenty.” I was dead to the world for about 20 minutes before heading back on the bike to the Liberty Bell restaurant. 

It was so well worth it. The food was fantastic and the staff were so nice and engaging. If you pass anywhere close to this city, you have got to sit down there for a meal.

Well, Miss “I’m gonna wear leather chaps no matter what,” is sound asleep before 9:00pm. Which come to think of it, is probably what I need to do as soon as I post this article.

The Recap

It was everything we’d been looking forward to. We were actually scheduled to be in Australia this month but felt a strong word from God that we were to spend more time in our community and church getting to know the people He put in our paths.

This group of riders has been a blessing to us both, so to spend these days away with them is a gift. These are the friendships that last, and are worth the effort to grow deeper connections. I’m hoping that day 2 will be just as wonderful, but not as hot.

See y’all along the path,

Scott

 

Harley Davidson and Jesus: Ready 2 Ride

About a year ago, Leah and I were in church waiting for services to begin. I looked up on the screen and there was a video cranking up. It was full of motorcycles. What was this that I was watching?

It was Gateway Church‘s small group Gateway Riders Southlake – small groups allow people to fellowship while enjoying their favorite activities, and serving Christ. We immediately connected with this group and they’ve since become dear friends.

Saturday thru Tuesday (September 23 – 26, 2017) we take off as part of our small group’s fall ride. I was so excited about the idea of fall. Of course, this is Texas, so it’s 90 plus degrees.

This will be the first time Leah has spent any time on the Harley since our wild crossd country adventure in July. Click HERE for each day’s write ups and locations over those 6,000 miles.

Boy, how times have changed. Leah says she’s a pro now and doesn’t need as much stuff as the cross country. I’m happy because that means my back won’t be aching. No more lugging her bags and suitcases across the south.

The trip is taking us toward Nacogdoches, Texas and the areas between Dallas and there. Honestly, I thought we were heading into Louisiana’s Natchitoches, but instead looks like we’ll be at the home of Stephen F. Austin State University, and as Google shares, is the town in Texas.

We head out early in the morning to meet everyone. It’s almost 2100 hrs here, and guess what’s been packed? NOTHING!!!

We hope you join us each day. We’ll take turns writing about the day’s adventures. Let us know if you’re in the area.

Don’t forget to connect with us on the website – Faithful.Live and Facebook

See you along the path,

Scott