Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Regency Bridge

When I returned from The Summer of Jason in June I found myself busy with a few things. First and foremost, I needed to find a place to live and get all my crap out of storage. Then there's a rather large list of secondary items I needed to take care of and that I'm still working on. For instance, opening four months of mail, paying corporate taxes, re-acquainting myself with friends I haven't seen in forever, finding another contract and catching up with the goings on at the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum. I checked in periodically while on the road, but I wasn't hip on everything like I usually am. What was everyone doing and where did they go while I was away scouring the North American continent?

One trip that caught my eye was out to the Regency Bridge near Regency, Texas. Doug Woodall organized this ride and his report can be found

here. The Regency Bridge itself is located in the middle of absolutely nowhere, spans the Colorado River, joins two dirt roads through cattle country and is one of the last remaining and longest suspension bridges in Texas. I thought that was intriguing enough, but this trip had further significance when a friend from the MTF, Jeff Miller (RearTire), passed away this September. The Regency Bridge trip was one of the last few trips he made and I wanted to pay my respects by riding somewhere he had been recently. I didn't know Jeff that well, but what I did know of him I liked. He was an easy-going individual who was passionate about life, riding and didn't have a difficult time keeping a smile on his face. People like him are difficult to find. Even more so now and to the detriment of us all.

click to enlarge

Some Pics of Jeff
Jeff, Jovita & Bo At Regency Bridge, Slow-riding at the PRFH, At the top of Bishop's Castle
Bridge Photo Courtesy of Doug Woodall

The night before I left I reviewed the map because, well, taking a straight line to Regency wasn't an option. Regency is due south of Brownwood and Brownwood is due south of Cisco and Cisco is about 100 miles due west of Fort Worth on I-20. Got it? I found a nice road around Weatherford to drop south of I-20 and then picked the squiggliest roads I could find that took me in a roundabout direction to Regency. Here's a map:

click to enlarge
Tin Top Road
Paluxy Hwy (FM-51)
US 67 N
FM 203 S
FM 927 W
FM 216 S
FM 219 W
US 281 S
FM 218 W
FM 2005 S
FM 1047 S
FM 581 S
FM 580 N
US 190 W
FM 16 N
FM 500 N

For the area, there are some damn fine roads in there. Like most Texas farm roads, they are all well-paved, typically carry 70 MPH speed limit, sparsely traveled and usually contain stretches of downright invigorating and fun pavement. For instance, FM 51 between Paluxy and US 67 is a fun stretch of road. Also, stretches of 203 and 1047 contained a few long sweepers and interesting corners that are worth repeating at some point. Perhaps the best road of the day was 580 between Bend and San Saba. That is an extremely nice farm road that winds through the Colorado River bend area and through several pecan farms.

Along the way I detoured through a few county roads that caught my eye on the GPS and found some interesting buildings, barns and roads.

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I approached the bridge from the south off FM 500. There's a sign that directs travelers down a red dirt road toward Regency and the Regency Bridge. Just a couple of miles up the road is the Colorado River and the Regency Bridge. Nothing special, but it's there and has a bit of history behind it. On the north side of the bridge is the Swinging Bridge Camp. Looks like a nice, little, quiet place to camp in the middle of nowhere with complete access to the river.

click to enlarge

I stayed at the bridge for a spell and thought about Jeff while looking up and down the Colorado. I thought his death is yet more proof of how short and precious life is for us all. How much proof is needed before we all realize life's fragility and break through the self-built confining walls that keep us invulnerable to the joy and bliss that is life? There isn't a moment to spare on petty bullshit before it's all over in the blink of an eye. And that's why I tell you all with the utmost of forthright sincerity and respect for this one life we live this very moment...

Live a good life, keep a good home, take care of your friends and family, work when you have to, but most importantly... if you ain't smilin', you're diein'.

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