Saturday, February 22, 2003

MTF Lunch - Huntsville, TX

Well it was another late night before a ride. Earlier in the week I had mapped out a nice 400-mile trek through east Texas. I needed to hit the road by 4:30a to be able to scamper through the route and have enough time to chill, take some pics, explore new areas on the GS and... did I mention chill? In the end, I wound up chillin' a little too long. The unfortunate part was that all that chillin' was done in my bed with my head on the pillow. Sure. it felt good, but meant that I would not be able to follow through with entire route. But, hey! I can try.

I hit the road shortly after 6a. The temperature was a nice and balmy 45 degrees and the sky was clear. The day was suppose to be spectacular and the weather didn't disappoint. I planned on popping down into east Texas just a little east of Terrell off of I-20. Specifically, FM 429. I wanted to follow a similar route I ran sometime last year and try out some new roads along the way. Here's the northern part of the route:

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I like FM 429 because it gets me off the slab as quickly as possible and because it's a nice little road that heightens the senses and prepares me for the roads ahead. FM 858 from Hwy 19 to FM 314 is a nice little stretch of road. There are some nice turns, a couple of sweepers and an overall nice road through the east Texas country side.

The real treat through east Texas, however, begins with FM 314 and continues on through Brownsboro, down onto FM 315 through Poynor and, eventually, all the way to Palestine. This is a spectacular stretch and there are some amazing ridges that overlook valleys and make me question just where the hell I'm at. I bet these roads are even better in the summertime when the trees are full and leaning over the highway.

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From Palestine just east on 84 is FM 323 which runs in a southerly direction and is another little gem in this region of east texas. Coming into the Davey Crocket National Forest is FM 227. While the pavement isn't all that spectacular, the scenery and curves are excellent. I recommend checking 227 out whenever you're in the area.

Here's that section of the map:

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After 227 I ran up 21 and saw a sign into the Davey Crocket National Forest. The sign was for an overlook or ridge above the Trinity river, but what was most interesting was that the road was dirt and I felt obliged to give the GS a little workout. All the rain had filled the holes with water and made the dirt nice, soft and gooey.

I finally got to the trailhead for the overlook, but there wasn't a distance marker for the trail. I decided to hike back about a half-mile and hope it wasn't any further. Besides, I wasn't on a hiking trip, I was on a motorcycling trip. Well, I wound up disappointed and turned back after about a half-mile. All I wanted were a few pics from the overlook and I'm sure it was just around the next corner. Back to the bike.

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Since I wasn't going to be able to make the entire 400 mile route to Huntsville, I decided to waste some time exploring some of the dirt roads through DCNF. There were a lot of potholes filled with muddy water and a few hairy turns and hills that got the GS sliding from side to side. I'm just thankful I never had to pick the damn thing up on this trip.

After getting out of DCNF I had to make a b-line to Huntsville. When I got there, Ray had already arrived and the others showed up over the next hour. We had a fantastic turn out and the weather cooperated a great deal. If you've never been to New Zion Missionay Baptist Church for BBQ, do yourself a favor and head on over. The BBQ is excellent and it's a downright authentic place. Just what you'd look for in a shack that serves BBQ.

Here are some pics:

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