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HULL OF A TOUR: Into the heart of Texas

Sunday brought a record low to Natchez, Miss. Our hearty group donned layers and leathers and left our first stop at a chilly 46 degrees, riding over the Mississippi River with steam rising.

We were en route to Dallas to visit our host, Marinas International, for an afternoon sunset ride on Miss Tejas. Our morning adventure was truly spectacular as we rode the back roads through amazing sweeps and rolling hills, majestic forests and small towns. I believe bikers have a heightened appreciation of nature and all the nuances associated with the five senses. We were treated to an awesome display of America’s natural grandeur on this leg.

We stopped for lunch in Shreveport, La., and like our Derby dinner the previous day, we had another meal and reason to celebrate. It was Cinco de Mayo, so we partied with the Louisiana State University fans at Nicky’s with chips, salsa and delicious grub. Loved all that purple.

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They’re right when they say things are bigger in Texas and that includes the traffic and congestion. It looked like the Grecian ruins, with huge pile drivers, road graders and construction equipment sprawled everywhere amid half-built bridges, etc., for miles on I-635 as we wound through Dallas. It was a harrowing, white-knuckle ride: I can’t imagine navigating that route on a weekday during rush hour.

We finally breathed a collective sigh of relief when we landed at Silver Lake Marina on the peaceful shores of Lake Grapevine and were greeted by a warm and friendly welcoming committee from event host Marinas International. Vice president of marketing Shannon Funk, regional manager John Swick and several of the area marina managers treated our road-weary warriors to a totally relaxing afternoon sunset wine-and-cheese cruise on the two-story rental party queen Miss Tejas.

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It was the ultimate 70-degree Chamber of Commerce-type day and boating bonanza aboard a wonderful ride. A mix of sailboats and powerboats were out and about, and like us they were enjoying a grand spring boating afternoon.

Ahhhh ... boating and biking in one day … nirvana!

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Thanks to the “Boaterz n Bikerz Across America: A Hull of a Tour” sponsors joining presenting sponsor Kenton Smith Marketing, including Legendary Marine, Marinas International, South Coast Yachts, My-Villages, Southeast Marine Sales & Service and media sponsor Soundings Trade Today.

Wanda Kenton Smith is an award-winning, 31-year marine industry marketing veteran based in Destin, Fla. She is president of Kenton Smith Marketing (www.kentonsmithmarketing.com) and president of Marine Marketers of America. She will file occasional reports on her tour across America.

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