View Full Version : So that's what dirt roads east of Austin look like

Trail Boss
07-25-2006, 07:20 PM
For the past few years I've been really diligent exploring the roads west of Austin. I haven't spent anytime exploring roads east of Austin. The hill country pretty much ends at Interstate 35, so the terrain east of Austin hasn't been all that appealing to me. That and the fact that my map reconnaissance hadn't really revealed anything that really jumped out at me caused me to spend my time west.

However, I had heard that Park Road 1, running between Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park was worth a ride. So I decided that I'd make a point of heading over there one day to ride. That day happened a few weeks back. I rode the back roads to Smithville and then ran Park Road 1 from Buescher to Bastrop. Very nice road. What really interested me, though, was all the little dirt roads I spotted branching off Park Road 1. Hmmm, this required further investigation.

I put a call out for anyone who wanted to go exploring to meet me either in Austin or in Bastrop on Sunday, July 23rd for a morning of exploration. Our goal was to ride those dirt roads off Park Road 1 and to see just what kinds of roads they really were. Were the destination worthy dual sport roads? Or boring, straight roads with little scenery? That's what we set out to discover.

Since it's so darn hot in the afternoon, I figured to get an early start and slab it over to Bastrop as quickly as possible to get to the good stuff as quickly as possible. No one showed up at the designated meeting place in Austin but several riders had told me they would link up with me in Bastrop, so I smoked out of Austin at 7:15 a.m.

I spotted the Batmobile on my way to Bastrop and decided I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a picture.


I looked around but Batman was no where to be seen. It was probably for the best. I hear that now that Robin is all grown up Batman is going to replace his Batcycle/sidecar rig with just a Batcycle. He would have probably wanted to take the KLR for a spin, to see if it could be the next Batcycle, and then I would have been late for my link up. Next time Batman, I've got a schedule to keep.

I met up with 3 other riders at the designated Shell station in Bastrop.

Brian, Troy the dog, and the Russian Ural sidecar showed up.

Scott (chiricahua) showed up on his supermoto Suzuki. Sweet ride.

Paul, who I rode with on my Flooded Hill Country Ride a few months back, showed up on his KLR ready for some adventure.

After some bench racing and liquid refreshment, we headed over to Park Road 1. If you haven't ridden it yet, make sure you do the next time you are in the area. It is a twisty roller coaster of a road winding up and down through the Loblolly Pines of Bastrop State Park and on east to Buescher State Park. Very fun road, but it will cost you $2 to ride it. I managed to stop one time to get some action photos. Not by best work, but at least it gives you something to look at.

Supermoto style

How to corner a sidecar

Paul on his KLR

After we finished Park Road 1, we roade Old Antioch Road to CR 154. CR 154 was a fun road too, with lots of high speed sweepers. I pulled to a stop at the intersection of CR 154 and Hwy 71 to allow our group to re-group. Scott pulled up and I noticed water leaking from his bike. Not good.


Water was steadily leaking from the bike and a puddle quickly formed. You can see it in this picture.

We were only a few miles from Bastrop so Scott decided to head straight up Hwy 71 to the auto parts store. A little putty would likely seal the radiator for his run back to Austin. So we parted ways and Brian, Paul, and I continued our exploration.

We ran Alum Creek Road north, across Park Road 1, to CR 146 (I can't remember the name of CR 146, sorry). We rode CR 146 west and it turned out to be a fun road. There was lots of debri from the previous evenings storm, but that just made it more fun.

There is a large power line passing through this area and I knew CR 146 would pass it. There was a small 2 track that ran down the power line right-of-way that I wanted to ride. Paul and Brian were game so off we went.

Paul on Power Line 2 track. The entire section we rode was just like this.

Brian shouted that this was a Russing SuperHighway as he passed me on his Ural.

A short distance later we reached a fence, gate, lock, and a no-trespassing sign. I thought the fun was over and that we would have to back track to CR 146. However, Paul spotted that the 2 track veered left into the woods and kept going. Hmm, we should see where it went. No signs saying stay out, no purple paint, no nothing so it must be okay.

The road deteriorated quick into merely a path. But, oh what a fun path it was. It paralleled the fence line and seemed to go on forever. You can just barely make out Paul in the distance in this pic. The entire way was pretty much just like this. I blelieve most of this path is on state park land.

Right after I snapped that picture I got a little worried about Brian. He was bringing up the rear and should have caught up to me. I waited a little while longer while Paul slipped out of sight in the distance. Finally I headed back to check up on Brian. Turns out he was stuck in the sand.


I grabbed a picture of him trying to unstick the bike and then went and helped him. After a few minutes of pushing we finally got it unstuck and turned around. In the meantime Paul returned.

I asked Brian to wait for us for a few minutes since Paul and I wanted to explore the path a little more. He agreed so off we went. Paul and I rode up the path quite a ways, until I spotted some stakes with ribbons on them. I figured that we had passed out of state park lands onto private land. Not wanting to trespass I indicated to Paul we should turn around and head back.

One last shot of Paul climbing up out of a rutted gully.

Next time I want to run the power line 2 track south. I suspect we can run it all the way down to Hwy 71.

Once back on CR146 we ran northeast towards Paige, TX. Most of the roads we hit were unpaved and were pretty fun. Nothing exceptional, but still fun. A brief stop in Paige for some more liquid refreshment and then we were off again, headed for BBQ in Elgin.

Then our next breakdown occurred. I picked up a nail in my brand new Avon Gripster rear tire. I pulled over in the shade and set to work to try and fix it. First I slimed it, but the hole was too big and the slime wouldn't seal it. So I pulled the tire, pulled the tube out, patched it, and then re-installed. The patch didn't seal it either (dang cheap patch kit). So I pulled the tube a 2nd time and put in my spare FRONT tire tube. I had read that you can run a front tire tube in your rear tire in just such a case as this and it will get you back to civilization. Once I had it all back together off we went.

We jumped on Hwy 290 a short time later and headed on towards Elgin. About 4 miles east of Elgin, at about 65 mph, the new tube ruptured and my back tire instantly went flat. The tire unseated from the bead and things got a little hairy. I could feel the back end squirming around and the bike started listing badly to the right. I thought the back end was going to swing so far right that I was going to end up going down or high siding and then going down. My first instinct was to tense up, but I made myself stay relaxed, stayed loose, kept a loose grip on the handlebars, and rode it out.

I pulled off the road and then rode through the ditch back to a house we had just passed. The woman who lived there allowed me to leave the bike there while I went to fetch a truck or trailer to haul the bike home. I called a buddy in Elgin, explained the situation, and arranged to meet him at the BBQ joint. Brian kindly allowed me to ride in the sidecar and Troy the dog agreed to sit on my lap.


My buddy decided to borrow a truck from a friend so he could haul me and my dead KLR back to the house. After we filled up on BBQ, Brian, Paul, and I departed ways - they headed home on their bikes and my buddy and I went off to borrow the truck.

After that it was an uneventual process of getting the truck, loading the bike, and hauling it back to Austin.

I installed a new tube in the rear tire later that afternoon, so old Bessie is ready to go again. The rear Gripster even looks okay, with no visible damage to the sidewall.

It's been said that when the plan goes haywire the adventure begins. Well, I guess we had an little adventure today. Not a bad day though and the roads were fun. I recommend them to you the next time you are in the area.

07-25-2006, 08:24 PM
I am sorry I missed it.
I could have given you a spare tube!- DOH!
I won't be late next time.

Cool bikes!!!
supermoto-Ural-KLR's = excellent
Good pictures too.

Thanks for the post.

07-25-2006, 09:25 PM
great ride report Richard! Thanks.

07-25-2006, 09:58 PM

Looks like a blast. Glad you were able to get the bike slowed under control! I had a rear tire go down suddenly like that on my VFR while heeled over in a tight turn in Arkansas. To say that it was unnerving would be an understatement! Cool pics as usual ;-)

07-25-2006, 10:35 PM
at about 65 mph, the new tube ruptured

I hear your suppose to keep it under 50 when doing that trick...

BTW, Nice ride, better save, good pics...

Trail Boss
07-26-2006, 06:33 AM

After thinking about it I guess the tube was rubbing against the tire, which caused the rupture. Perhaps going slower would have reduced the friction. I was looking at a 40 mile ride back to Austin and I'm guessing that even at a slower speed the tube wouldn't have made the entire distance.

Lesson learned for me was to carry a better patch kit. The one I had was from Wal-Mart and the patchs/cement didn't bond well at all. I tested it and it appears that it takes a long time for the bond to take on this kit (an hour or more) and even then the bond doesn't appear to be very good (ends of the patch not sealed, curling up).

I picked up a new patch kit on Monday, a brand I've used before on my mountain bike and one that seems to be of higher quality.

07-26-2006, 07:36 AM
Lesson learned for me was to carry a better patch kit. The one I had was from Wal-Mart and the patchs/cement didn't bond well at all. I tested it and it appears that it takes a long time for the bond to take on this kit (an hour or more) and even then the bond doesn't appear to be very good (ends of the patch not sealed, curling up).


Texas T...are you listening?:trust:

07-26-2006, 11:18 AM
Glad every one is safe, It sounds like you did a great job of riding the flat out!
Fantastic ride report.:clap:
I Love it when a sidecar come to the rescue!:clap: :rider: :rofl: :rofl:

07-27-2006, 12:02 AM
Great Ride report Richard, and great pics. Gotta go on another one soon:rider:

Trail Boss
07-27-2006, 06:34 AM
I'm thinking the weekend of Aug. 26th for the next one. I haven't checked with the wife yet as to what plans she may already have for us that weekend, but if it's open that's the weekend I've got in mind.

08-18-2006, 07:05 PM
I used to live over in that area, on Cottletown Road, which goes off 71 next to Alum Creek. I think the LCRA easement you were riding ran behind my old house. One word of caution about the pine needles, they can be as slick as snot on a doorknob, and an inexperienced rider can slide out quickly. On the park roads, also, be mindful of deer. There are some dirt roads around the Red Rock-Lockhart area that would make some nice little day rides. At least they are fun on my old '79 650 LTD. A lot of the LCRA easements are being turned into pasture by the adjacent landowners what with the drought, keep your eyes open for electric fences stretched across those, they can be a shocking experience. LOL

Chris Mitchell
08-19-2006, 09:42 AM
First off there are miles and miles of really good roads east of Austin sort of west of 290 and down around the general area between Elgin and Bastrop. The dirt roads are there in abundance. Its been a long time but I used to ride the high lines in Bruser Park fairly often. Dont know what the years and development has brought but its worth a look.
As to the flat look around and see if you can find any of the self vulcanizing flat repair patches. They are fast and reliable for making a good bond with the rubber. Usually the hot tip in any flat tube repair is to make sure you clean the rubber area around the hole very well. The powder substance most tubes have on them will not allow a good bond. I used to do a lot of off road years ago and found out that you can get a tube sealer from the big truck tire repair centers that they pump into the tire. If your going to be riding around in mesquite infested areas its a good trick to use that stuff. It makes not too much difference in the tire on the road but I would not reccomend it at high speeds, unless you try it first and work up to speed. Thats my two cents worth. Have a great time.http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=102

Jack Giesecke
08-19-2006, 09:58 AM
I slime my tires on the DP bike. I've had flats caused by sticker bushes before that wouldn't have been a problem with slime in the tubes. I just changed a tube in the rear, though, and need some slime to put in it.

That Ural wasn't a sportsman model with driven sidecar wheel, was it? I burried my GS750's rear (with velorex hack) in beach sand, once. Man, whatta beach that one was to get out!