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800 S. Francisco St.
Mission, TX

Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

Ride Reviews

Touring & Culture in South Texas via Motorcycle Riding

Tomas Perez

There are times in my day that are totally wasted by sitting around and thinking of an excuse to go ride. For example, yesterday I had planned to run an errand that took me to the town west of my hometown. Before I had a chance to set out on my errand I got a call from my son asking me if I could go check a problem with the AC unit in one of his businesses that is located to the east of my hometown. I decided I better do my part in conserving energy (gasoline in this case) and take my motorcycle instead of my of my cars. That's all the excuse I needed.

It was the new business opening last week that provided another excuse to take a longer ride to a little known attraction that is located about 80 miles to the north of Mission. I decided to visit the shrine of Don Pedro Jaramillo in the town of Falfurrias, TX. Don Pedro was a curandero or faith healer in south Texas around the turn of the century.

Being the middle of March the day was quite windy but one of the advantages that I have noticed on current touring motorcycles is that they offer such good wind and weather protection while remaining very stable regardless of wind direction. It's not as exciting to discuss as horsepower, top speed, or acceleration but I think these company spend millions of dollars studying the dynamics of cross winds on both the motorcycle and the rider. My current ride continues to amaze me in how well it handles in high cross winds.

I left my house and took the back roads to a connecting point to north bound highway 281. That short ride gave me a chance to get my riding legs ready for the trip before hitting highway speeds. I glanced at the fuel level and wondered if it was enough to do the 80 mile one way ride as it showed a little more than half a tank. I hit the trip computer button to see the remaining range and see that the computer is showing about 180 miles! It must be that high since I am crusing at about 55 mph where mileage is about the highest it can get (excluding rolling down a hill or mountain - been there, done that). The bike always does well over 50 mpg when I don't ride faster than about 70 mph and even at 70 mph I get about 50 mpg assuming no high head wind. Anyway, at 180 miles I'm good to go.

Once I'm on highway 281 riding due north I force myself not to use the cruise control until I am out of the valley and see far less traffic on the road. This is the first bike I've ever had that has a true cruise control. I now wonder how I functioned without one for so many years. About 15 miles north of Edinburg I get lazy and switch the cruise control on at 70 mph - the legal speed limit. The GPS shows 67 mph so I tap the cruise increase button twice and my true speed is now 70 mph. For good measure I tap it 3 more times and I am now cruising at an indicated speed of 78 or a true speed of 75 mph. At this speed my speedometer reads about 3 mph faster than true speed. My mind always factors this in when I set speeds. The time is now nearly 3PM and I want to make sure I get to the shrine before the little local store next to it closes for the day. What I need is an item that is sold in that store.

Don Pedrito Jaramillo died in 1907 but he had many followers and other people that believed in him. He was buried in Falfurrias in a ranch cemetery. Some time after his burial a shrine was built over his grave.

Don Pedro's grave is located in this corner of the shrine.

The second photo (below) shows the many photographs that people have attached to the walls of the shine either requesting help or claiming that they were helped or healed by a prior visit.

After talking to the lady that runs the store for nearly an hour I loaded up the bike so that I can head back into town about 4 miles away. Fuel level was still good but I wanted to top off before heading back home. I top off the tank with an additional 4.96 gallons. That means I had at least 1.6 gallons left in the tank. A funny thing about an RT gas tank is that it is really a 7.1 gallon tank that BMW downgraded to 6.6 gallons by putting a filler tube part of the way into the tank. This forces you not to fill the tank to the very top (unless you stand there and keep nursing a little more gas at a time as you fill above the bottom of the filler tube). Some riders have even been known to remove the tube from their bikes! If those BMW engineers only knew what they are doing to their bike...

I stopped doing that... takes too much time and besides it splashes little drops of gasoline around the top of the tank and that really bothers someone that is OCD about their bikes. You see - being on the road you can't simple wash the area well with car washing soap and water, polish the area again, and finally apply a good 2 or 3 coats of wax. And if you want to do the job right you should remove the tank bag rails. That's not too bad... remove the seats and 4 Torx screws and you're set to really clean that area under the rail. Well... you get my point.

Anyway, in my opinion BMW added this filler tube on the remote chance that you would 1) put the bike on the center stand and fill it to the very top of the gas tank neck on a really cold day and then 2) roll or ride the bike a very short distance and park it on the side stand, and 3) the day heats up a lot and the gasoline expands overfilling the tank getting into charcoal canisters, spilling on the ground, blown into catalytic converters, blab, blab, blab. Disclaimer - I'm just kidding here! No hate mail! Remember - I'm OCD about this thing!

Back to the gas station. I reset my odometers, turn on my GPS (don't know why - I've taken this road about a hundred times), tune in my XM and point the bike due south. Two miles and I'm out of town so it's cruise control time again. Time to sit back, listen to the sounds (review on this soon), and enjoy the ride home. The temperature is dropping under 80 making for a perfect ride home.

Oh... almost forgot. This is what I purchased for my son's new business.

I guess the modern aspect to this is that the candles are in English and Spanish. In my discussions with the lady she told me to wash them just in case someone else had touched them, light them and let them burn, and if they went out or got black that it was a bad sign. I washed them when I got home.

Keep the rubber on the road,