By Fred Kamp
Another successful Geezers tour has been enjoyed by 14 people not too proud to be, or at least to associate with, the Geezers. The merry band gathered in Jefferson, TX the evening of Sunday, October 21  in Auntie Skinner’s Riverboat Club & Restaurant (the “wettest spot in a dry county”) and, to the raucous juke box honky tonk music, discussed the maps and cue sheets for the next day’s ride. The Geezer group consisted of Joe & Margaret DiMonico, Ron Hitchcock, Fred & Bonnie Kamp, Dwayne and Jerri Lee, Harry McQuown, Fenton & Linda Ramey, Bob Reynolds, Tom & Karen Russell, and Penny Speck. Geezers Jim & Freda Foreman had to drop out at the last minute. The plans called for Bonnie, Jerri, Margaret, and Linda to carry the luggage in their cars, monitor the cell phones for cries for help, and run up outrageous shopping bills.
Monday morning, the 10 riders sallied forth about 9 o’clock, after the required mass picture taking, on the 37.5 mile ride to Longview, TX . We encountered the NE Texas hills and forests and a stiff head wind. We experienced the well-kept Farm-Market road pavement of rolled oiled gravel that seemed to diminish coasting. Penny somehow avoided arrest when she set up a road block, including the sheriff, at the ill-fated buzzard’s roost photo attempt. Many availed themselves of refreshment in the little town of Harleton, near the day’s midpoint. The temperature was warm enough to preclude tights and jackets. The tired group arrived at the motel in Longview between 2 and 3 o’clock knowing that this tour wasn’t going to be a cinch. That night we dined well at the London Street Grill where we were almost able to drive the waiter crazy by splitting checks in many creative ways.
Tuesday we rode from Longview to Tyler, 45.2 miles, on the same schedule and same temperature and wind conditions. We confirmed that, even though you can coast down a hill at 33 mph, you never get out of a hill what you put in to it. The only food supply was at Liberty City, but most just snacked, since it was only 16 miles into the ride. A local rest home nurse that we met at the convenience store, being well acquainted with geezers, gave us great encouragement. That night we dined and shopped well at the Potpourri, a short walk from the motel.
Wednesday, Tyler to Henderson, 43.3 miles. Same schedule. Same conditions, except, Hurray!, the route changed directions and we picked up a slight tail wind for the morning part of our ride. Meanwhile the support staff visited the lovely Tyler rose garden (the rose festival had just ended) and took many photos. After lunch in Overton, we started the hilly 22 mile ride into Henderson, the last 10 miles back into the wind. That night, dinner at the Jalapeno Tree (except Fenton and Linda, who head for the Shreveport casinos), where Karen started a stampede to the free ice cream cone machine.
Thursday, we started the ride from Henderson to Marshall, 41.1 miles, at 9 o’clock, as usual, and found the wind had shifted to the North, another headwind (though pretty light). Although we started out with tights and jackets, we soon took them off (within the bounds of decency). The hills began to flatten out. Five miles out of Tatum, CATASTROPHE! Bob’s rear derailleur cable broke! He was forced to begin walking some of the hills. Fred launched a cell call to Bonnie, hoping that she can meet them in Tatum and take Bob to the Marshall bike shop. No contact. Bob limped into Tatum with us, and Wow! there were Bonnie, Jerri, Margaret and Linda. Fred remembered putting a spare cable in his bicycle junk box, which was in the car, about 15 years ago, and sure enough it was still there. Dwayne and Joe fixed Bob’s bike. After a nice lunch in Tatum, we finished the last 17 miles on SR-43. Excellent surface, easier hills, and wide shoulder or 4 lane. That night we had Italian food (except for Fenton and Linda, who headed for Shreveport again) in a restaurant decorated with wine bottles but no wine. We considered the new menu item of soup, but they didn’t have any.
Friday, we started at our usual time for the last ride, Marshall back to Jefferson, a mere 28.3 miles. What a great ride! Hardly any wind, bright sun, better hills, good scenery. We arrived in Jefferson in time for lunch (Auntie Skinner’s again). Coconut Cream pie was examined for scientific rating. After lunch, some of us took the boat ride on Big Cypress Bayou. Others shopped. Penny and Harry sought museums.
The next day, we started home (9 o’clock). Some went to Plano to pause and watch the OU-Nebraska game. Others returned via the Talimena Drive and Krebs.
Now it’s time to consider the next Geezer’s Tour (VII).