Shreveport to Austin and a Day Off

I woke up early and headed to the auto parts store to fix the cracked oil filter on Bella.  After more parking lot maintenance shenanigans, I had the hole patched and I was ready to go.  Mileage had to be made in order to make it to Austin, where my wife, Karie, was flying in to meet me for her birthday.  So that meant more Freeway riding.   Mostly in Texas.  If you have never been there, here is a good description of Texas:  Big and flat.

I took Interstate 20 for a while into Texas, then cut through to Waco and Interstate 35 headed South to Austin.  35 was a real pain in the ass.  Lots of Big Rig trucks and traffic, all going 75 mph and buffeting Bella and I around enough that my vision was getting a little blurry by the time I arrived in Austin.  And what is with all those frontage roads Texas?  You cannot easily get off the freeway to get gas and then just get back on.  Instead you have to get off on a frontage road and then drive on that for a while to get to gas or food.  Then you have to do it in reverse to get back on the highway. 

Karie’s Uber from the Airport pulled up to the W hotel in Austin just as I was unloading Bella…Perfect timing!  We settled into our room and I showered and changed and we went out for Sushi that for Karie’s Birthday.   Afterwards a quick drink and then off to bed, as both of us were beat.

The next morning I got up extra early to go to the Mexican Consulate in Austin and get a Temporary Import Permit, which allows me to take Bella into Mexico for up to 180 days.  Unfortunately nobody told me I needed and appointment and a mask, neither of which I had, so I was turned away.  I then took Bella over to AF1 Racing, the Aprilia dealer in Austin, where they took her in for some much needed service and new tires.  The guys at AF1 were very accommodating and worked me into their busy schedule to help me out with my trip.   

I headed back to the hotel in an Uber and Karie and I went for some famous BBQ.  It ended up being way more food than we could eat, and also probably some of the most expensive BBQ I have ever had, but it was very good!  We spent the rest of the day walking around Austin and checking things out.  It seems like a decent city, but we found it a little boring during the day.  Its known more for its nightlife.  That night we went out for some good modern Mexican food and then off to bed early, again.

Karie was flying home the next morning and we were both sad she had to go.  After saying our goodbyes, I headed over to the Mexican Consulate again, with a mask and an appointment.  Unfortunately, it was not to be, as a computer glitch would not let them enter Bella into the computer and they could not call for help to Mexico City, like they normally would, because it was a National Holiday there (Dia de los Muertes) and all the government offices were closed.  It looked like I would have to get my TIP at the border.  

I picked up Bella at AF1 and took a few pics with the guys before heading back to the hotel to get packed and on the highway.  Once again, I had to endure Interstate 35 southbound as I headed towards a town close to the border to stage myself for an early crossing.  After about 3 hours of riding, I had had enough of I-35 and big trucks, and I was close enough, so I called it a day, found a hotel, had a steak dinner, and then completely repacked and reorganized my bags, a well-known ritual to motorcycle travelers.  Satisfied that I finally had everything set the way I wanted it, I collapsed into bed, nervous and excited about the next day.