Posted by: Beemer Bob | July 27, 2010

2010/06 – Beemer Bob meets James River – River wins.

Beemer Bob meets James River – River wins.

Hi normally I reserve blog postings for major trips, but following is a trip report for a weekend trip that could have ended better. James River Crossing is a legendary river crossing in Texas that is a quest by dual-sport rides in the area. They say that only 50% can make it. It’s not that deep, but the crossing at this point is simply a large slab of flat rock where the Texas sun warms it up to make a nice layer of slick algae. If the fact that it is slipperier than snot on a door knob is not enough, the rock slab also has small holes carved out that are very hard to see. I was doing OK with the slipper stuff, but look what happened when my front tire found a hole.

Current score

James River Crossing: 1

Beemer Bob: 0

Without any further suspense, this is the video you want to see. Then I’ll give a trip report of what happened before and after this video.

‘CLICK’ on link below to view movie. To view in full screen, ‘click’ full screen (lower right corner. Then once in full screen, select ‘STRETCH’, also lower left to turn Stretch on and make the little box go away.

Watch Bob “cross” the river

Llano, Texas area trip – July 17, 2010

Myself, Fastony (Tony) & Ghowell (Gary) decided to meet at the Llano city park to camp and ride some of the back roads in the area.

Tony) & Gary already knew each other, so I guess that made me the new kid. Gary rode his GS down from the Plano area and actually arrived at the park first. Shame on me as I was the closest. I got there about 45 min later and we found a nice campsite. Tony pulled in later that day trailering his KLR .

We cooked hot dogs and drank large quantities of adult beverages, shot the bull and got to know each other. We camped that night. I in my hammock and they in tents.

BTW: I have just made a Texas summer time discovery. My bride had gotten me this battery operated fan to hang in my hammock. This thing made a world of difference. Even though it was very hot, having a gentle fan breeze blowing on you through the night made for a pleasant time. By morning, I even hade to pull a sheet over me to keep the chill off. The box said the batteries (2 d cell) would last for 50+ hours. I have not tested that out fully, but it did run all night long for two nights. It cost about $10 and if you ever go camping in the Texas summer, this is a must have.

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Through the night, the other kids had discussed shooting me and taking my fan. As so not to get shot the next night, I suggested we go to the Wal-Mart in Fredericksburg and they could get one too. Of which they did, but they got a larger model.

Our campsite;

We followed some of Richard’s route (BTW: If you have not purchased Richard’s Hill Country Ride book, do so. It is great). Lots of nice roads around Llano, north of F’burg and towards Mason. Following are some pictures along the way.

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At one point, Gary and I had stopped to take pictures. Tony zoomed passed. It was a short lived zoom. In the following picture, Tony is pointed at the spot where he spilled saying “It is slick as s**t right here”.
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After slip sliding away thru some powder like sandy loam, we arrive at the famous James River.

Tony has done this before and informs us that it is higher then usual. While we are debating as whether or not to attempt this crossing, the one with the least amount of common sense (yours truly), says “I’ll try it”. Well you saw the video previously posted and know how that came out.

Obviously the engine was still running when I went down. I tried to swim back and turn off the ignition as fast as I could. But not soon enough. Scarface choked and died after swallowing half the river.

Tony and Gary came help me pick up the beast (Scarface) and they start to turn me around. I say, “No – I’m almost half way, I want to try to finish”. Tony tries to tell me that at best I’m only a qtr of the way, but I want to pretend I’m halfway and complete the task. I hit the start button and Scarface emits a painful groan. Tony then tells me that I have cylinders full of water and I ain’t going nowhere. Back to the shore we go under Tony and Gary power.

We push ol’ Scarface back to the bank and Tony (the mechanic among us), pulls the plugs and we hit the starter to eject the water out of the cylinders. After several episodes of sideward geysers spewing water, we can’t seem to get the water out. We clear the cylinders and wait a while and try again and more water appears.

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I have a spot and paid extra for their roadside assistance, so I initiate a call for a tow. (more on that sore subject later).

Tony and Gary decide that they could go back to Llano and get Tony’s truck and trailer and come back to get me before the roadside assistance would get here. So off they go to get a trailer and I find a shade tree and wait, and wait, and wait.

Well they were right, they got back before the roadside assistance (btw: Spot’s roadside assistance is not high on my list – story follows).

We load Scarface on Scott’s trailer and head out. I cancel the Spot’s roadside assistance that was never coming anyway. Have I mentioned I’m not pleased with spot’s roadside program.

We stop in Mason for a nice dinner and head back to camp site. Not only is Scarface waterlogged, but my iPhone went for a dip as well and won’t work. I know that the Spot folks, if they can’t reach me will call my wife so I need to call her before she sends out the National Guard. Both Tony and Gary have cell phones, so no problem right? Now what is my wife’s cell number? I have it on speed dial, so one button, I get her. I cannot remember her number

This was a frustrating time. Anyway, my phone comes to life long enough to give up her number, and I am able to call.

She tells me, yes the Spot folks had called her. They informed her that they will dispatch a tow truck shortly. She reminds them I am on a motorcycle, not a car.

About an hour or so later, the tow truck company calls and tells her they don’t know where I am and asking her if she can be more specific as to my location. She of course is not there and does not know. The tow truck company tells her that they were told I was on James River Road, but that is a long road and they need to know where on James River Road. They tell her “WE WERE PROVIDED WITH MY LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE BUT THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE HE IS”. Hey folks, any part of that previous sentence not make sense to you? I have not yet had conversations with spot management, but rest assured I will. They have my GPS coordinates but they don’t know where I am!

Once back at the campsite, we continue trying to clear the water out of Scarface. We squirt WD-40 inside cylinders, hit the start button and more water ejects out the side. After some discussion, Tony advises me that it may be best to bring it to a full fledge shop.

We call it a day, consume some adult beverages and hit the sack. This time everyone had fans and I did not have to fear for my life.

In the morning, I call my brother who lives south of San Antonio and lives for the moment to come all the way to Llano to rescue me. He comes gets me and we haul Scarface to Henzilla’s (Steve) shop in Blanco. My brother (aka Hap Hazard), drops me off at a local motel and I call my wife and try to tell her how much fun it would be for her to come to Blanco to get me. You know I ended up having to take her to an expensive place to eat that night.

Henzilla, later tears into Scarface and drains what is supposed to be oil. Instead it is some brownish frothy gunk. He tells me, he has worked on bikes downed in a river before, but this one has collected far more water then he has ever seen. Everything, including the muffler seems to have water in it. Following are some pictures Steve sent me.
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I was going to hang around and pester Steve to show me what minor things I needed to have done so I could do field repair myself the next time I take Scarface swimming, but Steve tells me that this is going to take a few days because he needs to check all orifices that may be holding water.

So I head home so that I can start making arrangements to mortgage my home to come up with the money to pay Steve.

Well that’s the end of this report. Will I ever try the James River Crossing again? You bet! I will keep trying until I do it and then I will NEVER go back to that spot again. In the meantime, James River Crossing remains a quest that MUST be conqured.




  1. What a story! I camped with several other riders at the Llano city park last weekend. We stuck to the blacktop without mishap. What were the coordinates for the James River Crossing. Being a geocacher, I could find it – and maybe even cross it on my 1975 R90/6.

    • It’s at 30.57308, -99.32284. Would you like for me to email you the gps route in Garmin or GPX format?
      Let me know if you make it across.

  2. LOL! That video is classic! I love the background music and repeat of the fall. When do you go back?

    And where did you take your lovely wife to eat after having her travel across Texas to rescue you?

    • Hi good looking,
      I took my child bride to the Uptown Blanco restaurant in Blanco. A very nice place. Plus I ended up having to take her to a nice new hotel (Blanco Luxury Suites). But I guess anyone willing to put up with my foolishness and come rescue me deserves it.

      • Good looking? Why thank you sir 🙂
        And she absolutely 100% deserves to be spoiled…as all of us princesses do!!!

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