ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-25-2013, 10:09 AM   #16
thebigman
bout a dollar 3.98
 
thebigman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
Oddometer: 3,413
__________________
Marko

08 xr650l ,99 xr650l, 10 HDXR1200X ,84atc200s 85atc200s, 80ct110 ,99xr70, 04xr650l ,

Dumb ass people do dumb ass things
thebigman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 02:37 AM   #17
Rusty Shovel OP
Banned
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Oddometer: 67
Day Two - Sunday

Day Two - Sunday

**For those looking for gpx files for the ride, look here."

What a great sleep I had! Beans VIP Campground was deserted and far from the road; no cars, radios, or airplanes. I woke with the pre-dawn, refreshed and ready for another great day.

The morning scene was tranquil. Steam rose from the calm water. When a fish jumped the sound seemed closer than your eyes told you was possible.



It was the kind of morning that makes you instinctively whisper.

Counselor was sleeping off his NyQuil, so I took a walk, washed the mud off my bike, and struck my tent.





Despite getting up long after me, Counselor emerged from his tiny tent and managed to be waiting before I was completely loaded. He's definitely a speedy camper.

Despite the NyQuil and rest, however, Counselor's cold had progressed (or regressed?); he clearly felt awful. We were also facing a time crunch. He had an appointment on Monday that he couldn't reschedule and we'd be hard pressed to finish two days of riding in one day.

But we had the advantage of an early start, the weather was ideal (still fluffy clouds and 70's), and we decided to give it a go. We were on the road by 8a.

Since we were trying to make good time we didn't pause to take many pictures. There were some great high-speed dirt roads coming out of Toledo Bend Reservoir, mixed with winding stretches of tarmac. There were more paved roads during this day's ride. In fact, I think there's more paved sections on day two than the other day's combined.

Then the weirdest event of the trip happened. We were riding along a remote stretch of paved road when one of these dive bombed me:



This isn't a photo of the actual hawk, but that's what I saw diving straight into my headlight. I was going about 60mph at the time. The hawk was also moving a pretty good clip, so the resulting impact was significant...THUNK!

The bird deflected along the left side of my bike, then grabbed my left pant leg with its talons! Are you kidding me! So now I'm afraid to slow down because the wind was all that was keeping the bird from getting at me. I frantically kicked my leg trying to get the hawk to release, which after about 10 seconds of lunacy, it did. The bird fell to the road and tumbled to a stop.

Free of the bird, I was finally able to stop. Counselor pulled along side laughing. "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?" he asked. He was kicking himself for not having his GoPro running. We u-turned back to the bird and shut off our bikes. The hawk was laying motionless. We began inspecting my bike for damage and found this:



Feathers on the tire.



A feather burned onto my header pipe.



But while our backs were turned inspecting the bike, the hawk (like a villain from a horror movie) came back to life! It jumped up and began loudly flapping its wings. Counselor and I both flinched away like frightened children.

I managed to snap a (bad) photo after I recovered from my initial surprise.



We got back on the road and continued to make great time. We didn't take pictures, didn't pause at intersections, and generally rode until our butts hurt. We did stop for a train (which we raced alongside for a while).



But frankly, I don't think the point of a ride like this is to make good time, it's to have good times (that should totally be on a fortune cookie!). We arrived at Rusk Campground by 2p. We were early, but clearly not early enough to attempt the day 3 portion and hope to complete the entire ride.

After briefly trying to find a mom & pop restaurant (seriously, where did they all go?) we settled on Taco Bell. We had some decisions to make. I was dead-set on completing the ride, but knew I needed another day to do it. Counselor had an appointment he couldn't budge and was still suffering from his cold.

In the end, Counselor reluctantly decided to head for home on the Interstate and I decided to camp for the night in Rusk and finish the 500 solo the following day.



The Rusk campground was deserted. I was the only person staying in the tents area. While I think $25 is a lot of money for a camp site, I have to admit that the amenities were nice. They have a pool and hot showers. After two days of hard riding, I was pretty ripe. The showers were small but clean and the water was piping hot.

I boiled water in my camp cup and made another freeze dried meal, Beef Stew. I'm sure that if I was served this same stew at a restaurant I wouldn't be impressed, but sitting by my little fire in the quiet camp, it seemed a four-star meal.

I turned in just after dusk, read my Kindle until I was groggy and went to sleep. I was awoken around midnight by a snuffling sound at the edge of my tent. I also heard something mucking around with the trash bag I'd stored my helmet in outside. I shone my flashlight through the mesh window of my tent and came face to snout with a little pig.

I didn't want pigs chewing on my helmet, so I retrieved the helmet and brought it inside the tent. I went back to sleep and Babe didn't bother me again.

**End of Day 2**

Coming soon, Day 3--the solo adventure.

Rusty Shovel screwed with this post 04-26-2013 at 11:20 PM
Rusty Shovel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 05:34 PM   #18
my6
Gnarly Adventurer
 
my6's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Spring Branch/Houston,Texas
Oddometer: 341
Absolutely loving this report. This is the ride I plan on breaking myself in on once I get my ducks in a row. Have you given any thought to changing your handle? HAWKRIDER sounds appropriate.
__________________
Check your Six
04/625 SXC,
my6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 07:09 PM   #19
Wyo-Obie
Adventurer
 
Wyo-Obie's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Wyoming
Oddometer: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by my6 View Post
HAWKRIDER sounds appropriate.
I agree. The hawk chose you.
Wyo-Obie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 10:27 PM   #20
Rusty Shovel OP
Banned
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Oddometer: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by my6 View Post
Absolutely loving this report. This is the ride I plan on breaking myself in on once I get my ducks in a row. Have you given any thought to changing your handle? HAWKRIDER sounds appropriate.
I've been Shovel too long to change that handle. Counselor suggested I finally give my bike a name. The suggestions:

Hawkeye
Hawksbane
and my personal favorite
"Norwegian Blue", because every Monty Python fan knows that the Norwegian Blue stuns easily. The bike also happens to be blue. Perhaps I could call it WeeGee for short?

Any other suggestions?
Rusty Shovel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 10:54 PM   #21
sunset_ryder
aka "toots"
 
sunset_ryder's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2011
Location: New Mexico
Oddometer: 711
__________________
"Dirt Slider"
sunset_ryder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 01:44 AM   #22
Rusty Shovel OP
Banned
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Oddometer: 67
Day Three - Monday

Day Three - Monday

Goin' Solo!



I slept till after the sun rose. My hips ached a bit from sleeping on the ground for a third time, but I haven't felt so rested in a long time. Turning in at dusk and waking at daybreak is so great. I swear I'd add ten years to my life if I could manage to sleep like this all the time.

It was another perfect day, albeit a bit warmer than the two previous days. I packed the fleece I'd been wearing under my mesh riding pants (Klim Mojave) and wore a short sleeve shirt under my jersey and jacket.

After eating an all-American Egg McMuffin sandwich in Rusk, I fired up my GPS and hit the road. It wasn't long before the GPS track took me off the tarmac and toward Mission Tejas State Park.



Counselor isn't going to want to hear this, but I think Day three is the most scenic of the trip--it also happens to have the highest ratio of dirt roads to paved roads.

It also had the greatest number of errors in the GPS tracks. Day two had zero errors, even Day One only had the issue with Nine Mile Road. Day Three, on the other hand, has some serious routing errors that could potentially be a disaster for riders who opt not to carry supplementary fuel...like me.

Of course I had no idea there was stressful situation in the wings. I was ignorantly enjoying the tall pines, winding trails, and Texas wildflowers.



There were occasional mudholes across the path. Once I got a feel for them, they were a gas to blast through. I learned quickly to lift my feet as a barreled through. But the air was so nice that my wet socks dried almost immediately.



I was having such a fine time, in fact, that I barely noticed the miles going by--but they were. And no matter how fine a time I was having, my bike was burning through fuel at a constant rate.

Upon exiting Mission Tejas Park, the route dumps you out on CR7 for a few miles of tarmac before turning off road yet again. I was at about 65 miles on my tripmeter at that point, so I searched for nearby gas--which turned out to be about 15 miles east in Pollock, TX. I didn't want to make a 30 mile detour!

I was at the end of 3-1, and 3-2 (according to my Garmin) was only 33 miles. I've hit my reserve in as little as 96 miles before, though I usually manage 125 before the light comes on. I figured I could safely plan to drive 100 without refueling since my reserve would get me an additional 20 miles. What could go wrong?

So I made my first bad decision of the day. Instead of retreating for gas, I turned down a dirt road which a sign proclaimed was the property of the Soggy Bottoms Hunting Club. Another sign forbade anyone to continue down their road without permission from the Soggy Bottoms Hunting Club. I think that Two Wheel Texans must have obtained permission to ride their trails, at least that's the rationale I used to blow past the signs.



Incidentally, I went to the soggy bottoms website and noted that the area is especially popular for bear hunting.



I didn't see any bears. Which is a good thing considering how the hawk had responded to me. I must smell delicious.

The dirt roads were unimproved for the most part. I had to slow down to go around some felled trees or speed up to barrel through mud holes. Occasionally I'd have to get off my bike to move debris from the trail. Clearly these roads were very seldom used. I had to backtrack a few times when I missed turns.

I had gone 25 miles or so when I came upon this:



Now I know there's some trials riders and enduro racers who will scoff at my dilemma. Why don't I just drop a gear and bunny hop over the tree? Short answer, 'cause I don't know how and this didn't seem like a good time to learn. Besides, while the tree wasn't really that big, but it was suspended a couple of feet off the ground. Also, there was no way around--the forest was too dense on both sides.

What to do?



Yes, that's a hatchet hanging from my bag. Since I didn't have enough fuel to go back, I'd better get chopping!



After several minutes of chopping I was able to push the trunk closer to the ground (see above), but with this much time invested, I decided the tree simply had to go.



Success! I am KING OF LUMBERJACKS!

I was glad to be able to move the remaining portion of the tree, my hand was getting tired (since I'm more of a weekend lumberjack) and I was sweating like a faucet. I had long since ditched my jacket and would ride in my jersey for the remainder of the trip. It was in the mid 80's and getting humid.



After riding a few more minutes down the path, it occurred to me that the tree had probably lain across the road for some time. The trail was beginning to feel more and more remote.



My tripmeter said I was at about 90 miles. Clearly I did not have the fuel to reverse course. The trail went from seeming remote, to seeming abandoned.



Then it went from "abandoned" to "forgotten."



At 100 miles, the trail went from "forgotten" to "forsaken."



At 105 miles, the trail simply ceased to exist altogether.



But my GPS boldly proclaimed that the trail was alive and well, so I stood on my pegs, navigated the knee high grass, and kept alert for hidden bogs and fallen trees.

I was so alert, in fact, that I failed to note that I'd somehow deviated from the GPS track. I never saw a "turn." The forest was impenetrable on both sides. So I forged ahead until it became clear that I couldn't go forward any longer. I was at 110 miles. Damn.

I was beginning to sweat--and not because of the heat. I began an inventory of what gear I had in the event I ran out of fuel. I was glad I had my nearly empty backpack and that I was wearing hiking boots rather than MX boots. I had 64 ounces of water in two Nalgene bottles and plenty of means to make a fire. Heck, if worse came to worse, I could pitch a tent and start fresh in the morning. Of course, by that time my wife would have alerted search and rescue. I was fixated on the possibility of embarrassment when four or five boar came into view standing in the path.



This is a stock photo I found on a Texas wildlife webpage. There were four or five of THESE standing in my path. I didn't think about my camera. I didn't have long to think about anything. My arrival spooked the lead boars and they bolted into the forest--followed by about THIRTY or FORTY more pigs! They made a huge racket as they crashed through the trees. My heart pounded in my chest. I was NOT spending the night here.

I backtracked to the GPS route, only to find that the turn it advised did not exist. Not even close. Just dense forest and fencing. I most definitely did not have enough fuel to return whence I came.

I ended up following a game trail that headed in the general direction of the nearest paved road. To my relief, I intersected a hunting road, this intersected a larger gravel road just as my reserve light illuminated. I gently lugged my engine along the gravel road until it seemed deliverance was nigh. The paved road wasn't far ahead, and then...



Will ya look at the size of that fence? What do they keep in here? King Kong? I tried driving along the fence line, but it was clear that the fence went on for many miles. Dang.

White flag time. I rode back to gate, intent on climbing it and walking to the nearest gas station. When I came within ten feet of the gate, however, the gate slid open automatically! I looked around to make sure I wasn't being punk'd! Freedom.

So now I was on State Road 94, still 8 miles from the nearest gas. I babied my bike along. I've never run my bike dry, but I'd never been this close. I limped in to a gas station near Lufkin, TX. My bike was beginning to sputter. My tripmeter showed 137 miles. My three gallon tank took 2.93 gallons.

I got a coke, sat at a bench, and tried to stretch the kinks out of my neck. It was a very tense little adventure. My lesson is learned: I will never venture solo without my Rotopax again (say it ten times).

With my gas tank full, I felt very grateful. So grateful, in fact, that after turning down the dirt roads leading to Davy Crockett National Forest, I decided to stop and help a couple of colorful looking locals who appeared to be lost.



Billy and Coop were trying to deliver a horse, but were having a tough time on account of there being no road signs on the dirt roads. I gave them turn-by-turn instructions (compliments of my Garmin) and they went merrily on their way. At least I think they were grateful, they both spoke "authentic frontier gibberish," so it's hard to say.

I was on my last leg of the journey. I was sad that it was coming near an end. Crockett NF had immense bald patches devoid of trees due to the drought and subsequent logging operations to remove the deadwood.

But i did come across this:



To the untrained eye, this looks like a puddle, but NO...it's a river!



Okay, okay...it's a small river. Very small. My grandmother would have called it a creek (though she would have pronounced it "Crick").

But I'm not above chalking up even very small victories. This was my first official river crossing. Despite being over in less than two seconds, I basked in the warm glow of my accomplishment.

But it had to end sometime. Not much later I intersected State Road 287 and returned to the starting point in Moscow, TX.



I had completed the East Texas 500. What a thrill. I've never been on an adventure ride before, and while I suspected that I'd enjoy it, I didn't know how much. I will say now that this ride was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing (with one notable exception) experiences of my life.

The hook is set. I can barely wait until my next multi-day adventure!
Rusty Shovel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 02:18 PM   #23
LJHrider
Adventurer
 
LJHrider's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Southwest Ga
Oddometer: 92
Great report thanks
LJHrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 02:19 PM   #24
Rusty Shovel OP
Banned
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Oddometer: 67
Mystery Solved

Quote:
My "check engine" light turns on....

In retrospect, I don't think that was the problem at all. If the bike was overheating, wouldn't the "engine temp" light have come instead? I think that, perhaps, with the heavy load on the bike, the engine didn't like being lugged along at 60mph in 6th gear. Perhaps I'll never really know because I turned the key and, hallelujah, no engine light--we're back in business.
I've taken my bike to the shop to determine what the "check engine" light was for. The bike computer came up with code #18. The tech said, "let me guess, you were lugging the engine at highway speeds when it came on." I was. It turned out to be a signal for my missing XSUP motor, which is a piece of worthless smog related equipment that I removed. Counselor said I didn't remove it properly, so it threw a code. Nothing was ever wrong with the bike.
Rusty Shovel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 05:19 PM   #25
Whec716
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Spring, Texas
Oddometer: 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Shovel View Post
I've taken my bike to the shop to determine what the "check engine" light was for. The bike computer came up with code #18. The tech said, "let me guess, you were lugging the engine at highway speeds when it came on." I was. It turned out to be a signal for my missing XSUP motor, which is a piece of worthless smog related equipment that I removed. Counselor said I didn't remove it properly, so it threw a code. Nothing was ever wrong with the bike.

Counselor is 100% right and will finish the removal that you failed to complete.

Glad you enjoyed the ET500 and I can't wait to saddle up and do it again with you.
__________________
If you know anyone looking to buy, sell or rent Real Estate in the Houston area. I'd appreciate the chance to earn your business. www.har.com/chriskrafcik
Whec716 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 07:06 PM   #26
Wyo-Obie
Adventurer
 
Wyo-Obie's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Wyoming
Oddometer: 37
You did get a song going through my head for a few minutes...

"He's a lumberjack, and he's okay."
"He sleeps all night and he works all day."

Great report! Thanks
__________________
"Give me a diablo sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, and make it quick, I'm in a g..-d... hurry."
Wyo-Obie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 08:27 AM   #27
Lucky508
Adventurer
 
Lucky508's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Austin
Oddometer: 20
Rusty and Counselor1,
I really enjoyed the RR. The pics and challenges of the third day were my favorite.
I hope to ride this route someday.

Thanks,
Lucky508
Lucky508 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 08:35 AM   #28
jackflash
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Oddometer: 314
Awesome Ride report guys. Looks like y'all had a lot of fun.

I think I am going to try this ride out in the Fall. If anyone wants to give it a shot with me, pm me and we can try to set something up.
__________________
"Those who give up liberty to obtain safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
jackflash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 12:54 PM   #29
Whec716
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Spring, Texas
Oddometer: 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackflash View Post
Awesome Ride report guys. Looks like y'all had a lot of fun.

I think I am going to try this ride out in the Fall. If anyone wants to give it a shot with me, pm me and we can try to set something up.
let me know when and i'm game.
__________________
If you know anyone looking to buy, sell or rent Real Estate in the Houston area. I'd appreciate the chance to earn your business. www.har.com/chriskrafcik
Whec716 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 07:01 PM   #30
Mudclod
Mojo Moto
 
Mudclod's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Killeen, TX.
Oddometer: 1,474
Quote:
Originally Posted by txplants View Post
Outstanding! I would most surely have been shot on the scary road but it certainly looked like Dualsport heaven.
__________________
74 TY250 89 GB500 97 XR650L 03 KDX220 06 DRZ400 08 DL1000 09 XR1200
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Down Texas Way
Mudclod is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014