Texas Chicken Fried Steak Run - November 8, 2002
by Joe Tokarz

We covered about 600 miles from Lucas to East Texas, to Haslam, LA, to Nacogdoches, to home.
Why? Every bike trip has a purpose, real or imagined. For this one, we imagined having a melt in your mouth, belly filling, East Texas chicken fried steak dinner with mashed potatoes, white gravy and biscuits, at the Clear Water Creek restaurant in Nacogdoches, TX. 

But like any bike trip, the fun starts the day before. On Friday night, about 9pm, the battery in the 996, chose to depart this world. No amount of recitation by even the most sophisticated chargers could bring it back. After a moment of silence, it was ripped out of the 996 and the search was on for a suitable transplant.

It so happens, Joe has several bike projects in the Garage Mahal and a NOS (new old stock) dry charge battery, at least 10 years old and intended for the 1968 Royal Enfield, was found to fit. We knew it was going to work. After breaking the seal and pouring in acid, the battery case got a bit hot to the touch. Like we said in the 60's, "Better Living Through Chemistry". Turning the holder bracket upside down and stringing some inner-tube rubber bands together for an elastic hold down, the 996 roared to life and it didn't miss a beat the whole trip.

The weatherman promised a great day of sun, and gusty winds. 78 degrees in November is just one of the many reasons we like Texas. We were on the road at 6:45 am with a planned stop about 25 miles out, at the Cattleman's Café in Blue Ridge, TX. It's an eclectic run down place where the local's know whose a stranger. Coffee, eggs, sausage, gravy and biscuits. Now that's a cocktail that guarantees income for the cardiologist's.

The miles clicked off with gas stops dictated by the Duke. Its gas tank was near bone dry so we made our first stop at a very small, supply store in Cunnigham, TX. When asked where the closest gas was, 4 people broke out into a laugh. We learned that we had entered the geographic epicenter of no gas. All points of fill-up were 15 miles away. Off we went proving the 996 can run on fumes. It had too, since the tank was empty. 

Memories of the ride:

The 13-year-old kid driving a Dodge dualie 4x4 pickup (with 2 brothers) that tired to give us directions and convince us that he was really sixteen. 

The 3 guys at the Hagansport feed store / gas station that were amused that we EACH had maps. 

The GIGANTIC Angus Bull that was peacefully grazing on the side of the road until we came along. He made Bill and the Triumph Trophy look small.
He's a prizewinner at about 6 feet tall at the hip. Even though he sports formfitting black leathers, he's not a bike fan.

Regular dodging of LFB's (low flying buzzards) feasting on some tasty morsel of flattened road kill with the tire marks still fresh on the carcass.

The varied selection of Texas road kill including armadillos, polecats (skunks), dogs, birds, raccoons, squirrels, snakes and a few that were only recognizable as a large red and gray smudge.

The docile herd of ranch buffalo near Rockford, TX.

The pungent aroma of sulfur gas coming from the Talco, TX oilfield pump jack. Each stroke translates to $$'s for the owner.

The unexpected find at the Texas, Louisiana State line, called the International Boundary Park, at Panola, TX.

The fantastic chicken fried steak dinner at the Clear Water Creek restaurant in Nacogdoches. We waddled out to the parking lot and stood around a while to catch our breath, debating to press on or take a room for the night..

The Saturday nighttime ride home when it seems like every other steel coffin pilot just raised his blood alcohol level as a perquisite for access to Highway 175.

Ride facts:
Andrew (Pecos) Tokarz - 2001 Ducati 996
Bill (Ducman) Rowe - 1998 Triumph Trophy 1200
Joe (Square Four) Tokarz - 1999 BMW R1100RT

Blue Ridge, TX. Named for its blue-flowering grass that grows in the area.

The International Boundary. Today it's the boundary between Louisiana and Texas has a unique history, not only as the boundary between two empires and three Republics., but as one of the very few international boundaries that have never been the cause of, or the scene of, armed conflict between neighboring nations or states. www.rootsweb.com/~ladesoto/park.htm

Nacogdoches, Texas. The oldest town in Texas. www.visitnacogdoches.org/

Chicken Fried Steak recipe www.texascooking.com/recipes/texascfs.htm

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