Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Day 1 HWY 83 - Brownsville to Laredo
Flew into Brownsville, Tx yesterday.  Kickstand down at the Pecan Tree Motel.  No wifi, no cable tv, took a walk and enjoyed the evening light.  

But...let me back up a bit.  After landing at Brownsville, rang up Mad Boar Harley-Davidson.  The LowRider had been shipped to them.  Juan, the service manager told me to sit tight.  He would send one of his guys over to pick me up.  "Just look for a truck with Mad Boar HD on the door".  That's when I met IBM.  Now all bikers have biker names.  That's just part of it.  "First things first...we need to stop and get you some lunch, then we're goin' stop by and see when Freddy Fender is laid to rest."  As we're ridin' along I'm waiting for IBM to tell me about his name.  Finally, after several very colorful stories of his early days growing up in the area he confides in me.  "When I was a young kid I was very small.  One day my grandfather started calling me IBM.  Now I'm no f*#&kin' computer guy, so I ask my grandfather what does this name mean...simple he says...Itty...Bitty..Mexican.  Just stuck ever since."
IBM stops the truck.  Freddy Fender was born in San Benito, Tx.  He was a county and rock and roll artist working both solo and with the group Los Super Seven.  IBM tells me about the band he was in and how they opened once for Freddy.  It was at that gig IBM met his wife.  They had one son.
IBM turns and in a quiet moment says..."Here is my son next to Freddy.  He served in the Army.  A mortar round in Iraq took his life."  I thought I was just getting a ride to pick up a motorcycle.  In a few short minutes a man called IBM had shared a big part of his life with me.
HWY 83 is dedicated as the Texas Vietnam Memorial Highway.  Town after town pays tribute to those who were lost and served in Vietnam. 
Between the towns of Weslaco and Mercedes is the last operating drive-in movie theater on HWY 83.  The Wes-Mer is a family run business.  The charge is a flat $10 per car and includes two movies per night.
Family businesses and services line the streets in the small towns of the Rio Grande Valley.
230 miles today.  Kickstand down in Laredo, Tx tonight.  Always a good motel when you can park at the door to your room. 

be strong, be safe, Talon


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