Say, “We’re going to ride our bikes in Cleburne, Texas.” and everyone will reply, “Where?” Located about 35 miles sort of southwest of Fort Worth, Cleburne is the quintessential Texas town; spit-and-whittle sessions around the courthouse every morning, five cent parking meters and biscuits and gravy on the Continental Breakfast at the hotel. It’s big enough to rate its own exit on the Interstate twelve miles away but small enough to ride across in thirty minutes. It has the usual suspects in the way of plastic sign hotels and a good variety of places to eat. From April 27 to May 1, 2003, seventeen Geezers set up housekeeping at the Best Western Smithfield Inn on the west edge of town where county roads headed both north and south from their parking lot. The participating Geezers included: Jim and Freda Foreman, Joe and Margaret DiMonico, Fred and Bonnie Kamp, Tom and Karen Russell, Steve and Cynthia Wade, Gary Cannon, Ron and Anne Hitchcock and Jim and Arletta Webster. The last two days of the Tour they were joined by Elean Ainette and Cindy Braun. Half a mile from the hotel puts you out in the bucolic countryside with good roads and very light traffic. Excellent county roads took us to places with such exotic names as Godley, Eulogy and Goatneck. The history of Goatneck is worth a read.
Lead Geezer, Fred Kamp, had generated a number of maps, based upon the annual Goatneck Ride, with loops ranging from fifteen or twenty miles up to distances far greater than longtime AARP Members were willing to tackle. Terrain ranged from almost flat across lush grassland where buffalo, longhorn cattle and even Llamas in fields full of wild flowers peered at us over the fence to places with “beyond category” hills like the 500 foot muscle burner out of the Brazos Valley in under a mile. When people ran out of granny gears, many were considering ropes and pitons.
The non-riding ladies teamed up with some local, very distant, relatives of the Kamps and the Foremans and shopped up a storm at the Hillsboro Mall, and quaint shops in Granbury and Burleson. This contributed to the incident where Murphy’s Law overwhelmed the careful emergency plans that had been contrived. Ron skinned a knee and Fred called for Bonnie’s assistance. Only Bonnie was in Margaret’s car in Grandbury with the rest of the shopping gals. Never mind, Fred would ride in to the motel and get the car. Well the car was actually over at the relatives. Never mind, Steve would ride in to the motel and get his car. So Joe stayed with Ron, Steve and Karen hot-footed it towards the motel, and Cynthia and Fred followed at a more sedate pace. Half way in, Cynthia got a call from Steve that she actually had the keys to his car. Never mind, Jim Foreman showed up at the motel and completed the rescue mission. Anyway, no one had a flat on the Tour.
We ended our week with a survivors party at the Edelweiss German Restaurant in Fort Worth which spices up great German food with live entertainment, Teutonic music and chicken dancing. And never being ones to pass up a chance for a party, a surprise birthday cake, along with the usual embarrassing gifts, appeared for Jim Webster.
There is only one unanswered question: where will the Geezers head next?