View Full Version : A Mikeless ramble through the backroads of North Texas

04-15-2007, 11:27 PM

Report soon, photos to process ...

The tale of the tape ... 168 miles. Not bad for 10 minutes notice to get my butt in gear and get to Gene's house.

The tape started and ended at Gene's house.

04-17-2007, 04:13 AM
So, the phone rings ...

Wow, it’s Gene (tx246), wonder what he wants?

Gene: What you up to?
Tony: Not much.
Gene: I know it’s kinda late to call (10:50AM), but what are you doing today?
Tony: Nothin’, why?
Gene: I wanted to see if you wanted to go for a ride.
Tony: Uhhh ... [sounds of windows shutting down in the background] yea!
Click ...

So, that is how the ride began. Now I am in East Dallas and Gene is in Denton. I could ride my bike, but it is nearly 100% freeway, so I chose to throw on some shoes rather than gear up and load the bike in my truck. At 12:05 PM, I backed into Gene’s driveway and unloaded my bike. Not bad, for 50 something miles, huh?

Geared up, we headed to the gas station to top off the tiny stock tank on my DR and the tanker on his NTH DRZ. This was to be his first real ride on his bike and the second on mine. I was interested in seeing how adjusting the rear shock had affected the handling of my bike. Gene was in learning mode all the way around.

GPS route loaded, Gene led us out northwest on a ramble into northwestern Denton County and environs beyond.

The first few miles were all weather, but we soon turned down a gravel road. Cool, but it shows to be a dead end on my GPS and the sign at the road says ... Dead End. Now, we have all experienced the type of roads where folks try and make a road appear dead end or private, so down it we went, for maybe a half a mile.

Gene did the circle the wagon (CTW) routine and he came about. As he passed, he mentioned some thing about a boss Mustang that used to live in the yard we came about in front of. Resetting sails, we headed back to the asphalt and north towards the next dark grey line on the map.

Heading west and zigging north, we came to the first of many bridges across Clear Creek, that we would encounter.







It was idyllic, almost pastoral. We were less than a mile from I35, but we were lost in a scene from long ago. North of DFW had long been one of the nations bread baskets, but change is underway.

[rant on]

McMansions are popping up everywhere as “city folk” move to the country, trying to escape the hustle and bustle. No sooner do they arrive than they demand that the roads be widened and shopping centers be built, so their lives are more convenient. Well, as the saying goes, there goes the neighborhood. Soon, kids are zooming down the now straightened roads and families are moving even farther out to escape suburbia.

Will they ever learn?

[rant off]

Change is underway in this corner of the metromess and soon, only photos will remain, to remind everyone of what had been lost via modernization.

[ ... more soon ... ]

04-17-2007, 05:50 AM
Iím back ...

Again, rambling northwest, we zigged farther back into time and soon found a canopied road that begged to be enjoyed.

Gene being my model ...

closer ...

Perhaps a mile in length, the road has probably served the needs of residents for a hundred years, but soon asphalt and power lines will replace tree canopies and barbed wire fences.

So, what do you think of this little slice of heaven, Gene?

Sans any activity, infinity seems to cary the road to the end of time ...

Gene returned with stories of a giant bull ...

[ ... more in a minute ... ]

04-17-2007, 06:28 AM
Now, meet Mr. Bull


Everyone remember the optical illusion, where the eyes of a painting always seem to follow you? Well, this guyís eyes followed me. Clearly nervous as to why I was there, he eyed me warily.

All the while, his harem grazed peacefully in the sunshine beyond. Clearly the property of a gentleman farmer, these guys are too well kept and the field is almost like a storybook.


Notice how he stands between me and the family.


Deciding that I am little threat, he ambles off to check on the girls.


No threat ... bwaaaahhhhaaaaa ... I think I will get BEEF tonight!

[ ... Sam Bass Road is next ... ]

04-17-2007, 09:03 AM
Ah..the beauty of pastoral north Texas, if only it would last.

Teeds, did you ever check out my Grasslands and Crosstimbers of Texas ride report?

04-17-2007, 09:26 AM
Teeds, did you ever check out my Grasslands and Crosstimbers of Texas ride report?

:doh: Nope ... didn't even manage to remember it was out there.

In my defense though, I only had about ten minutes though to go from shutting down my computer to backing out of the driveway with everything loaded in my truck. :trust:

I'll go ahead and spill the beans that I was bummed that there were almost zero bluebonnets that far north ... :shrug:

04-17-2007, 10:46 AM
Looks like y'all had a great day for riding, one of these days I will get a chance to do that.

04-17-2007, 12:02 PM
Looks like y'all had a great day for riding, one of these days I will get a chance to do that.

You know, it is kinda funny ... I have an XR650R, KTM 200MXC and KTM 400MXC in the garage and walk right past them to grab the DR650. The XR is plated as well, but kick start. The button has gone a long way towards making my knee feel better, even if it is only an illusion.

DS gives me the freedom to jump on my bike anytime. I am thinking about getting a DS kit for the 400 and setting it up for short rides and more technical stuff than the Dr can handle.

The XR ... I'm not sure, but I think it will be going bye bye.

04-17-2007, 05:30 PM
The XR ... I'm not sure, but I think it will be going bye bye.

Tony maybe it's time to call irondawg.....


04-17-2007, 05:56 PM
Sam Bass Road, now doesnít that name evoke images of outlaws? Iím not sure as to the validity of the image, but seeing the sign and I start looking behind the trees for shadows. Sam Bass Road, at this juncture of time is an arrow straight monkey asphalt line parallel to I35 just west of Sanger Texas. Indicative of itís past there are a few 90 degree turns with 10 foot inside radii to keep you awake.

We have all seen these curves. They once used to define the boundaries of farmer fields. Now they stand guard as the frontier between gentleman farmers that install steel fencing painted white to stand proud of the surroundings and call attention to their presence. The road slips between the fields like a knife, cleaving a path of ownership between neighbors that likely do not know each other by sight, much less emotional connection.

Why do people yearn for new, more positive environs for raising their young, only to complain and ultimately construct what they departed?

As an architect, I am a student of human nature and this question has long wandered about my mind, trying vainly to find an answer to light upon that would satisfactorily flesh out reason. To date, I have found nothing and this ride is actually adding to the confusion. It was easy to tell the visitors from the residents. The visitors stop at every corner, looking this way and that, before proceeding. The residents? They breeze along rounding corners like they are at Sears Point or Watkins Glen, all the while, chatting on cell phones, yelling at children in the rear of the shuttle, or applying makeup.

I know my comments sound like a rant, and in a way I guess they are, but for the life of me I cannot imagine while people drag all their old baggage with them when the move.

Maybe I am just pissed because as we ride down Sam Bass we pass signs ...

Construction Zone Ahead

Detour 2000 feet

Detour 1000 feet

Detour for Sam Bass Road Turn Left

Road Closed Ahead
Local Traffic Only

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh ... Iím guessing this is not progress and we we get to the bridge, I am correct. There is pretty Truss Bridge sitting beside the road and a large hole where the modern bridge is going to be constructed. Well their goes the neighborhood. Now the folks can scurry about between Home Depot and their houses making them secure from the riffraff that can now find them.


Like my sig line says ...

Good roads bring bad people
Bad roads bring good people

Now, I am not knocking the pavement burners here, but I think everyone knows what I mean.

Gene heads off to the edge of the pit to see if a couple of wayward bikes can make it across, but from my vantage point, it does not look good. The entry is OK, but the exit is steep and up a very soft hill that has recently been removed and regraded. Lord only knows how soft it is.


Before leaving I take a photo of Gene and his new bike in front of the remains if the bridge.


Heck, maybe Denton will start a bridge museum. Dallas did that to save the buildings.

[ ... more soon ... ]

I have got to find some shop drawings.

04-17-2007, 10:49 PM
So what is it about bridges that draws us to them like flies on a landfill? :ponder:

And why is it that anything old holds an attraction when a fresh new specimen of the exact same thing barely elicits a raised eyebrow of notice...?

So many people I meet often have the thought, "If only I could get a new start and leave it all behind..." They change their circumstances only to find that the it is not the things around them, but the things inside them, that matter. Soon the world around them reflects the world inside them. They have come full circle. Failing to learn from their experience, they once again start to dream of that land far away where everything will be fresh and new...

04-17-2007, 11:45 PM
There is some really great riding north of Denton. I am glad you got to enjoy it. I also took a picture of a bridge on my ride Sunday. I was somewhere NE of Anna, I think. I am almost always up for Sunday rides, so let me know next time ya'll head out. Would love to joing ya.

04-18-2007, 06:01 AM
I am almost always up for Sunday rides, so let me know next time ya'll head out. Would love to joing ya.

Will do Jim. Email or PM me your info and I will put into my phone. The next two weekends I am at Barnwell, but I can see making this a weekly event, with a different person picking the direction each time.

04-18-2007, 06:02 AM
Well, I found the shop drawings, approved them and got them faxed out.

Next up was some gravel to clear my head and refocus me on the task at hand, to enjoy a wonderful day surrounded by Mother Nature.

Sunday had dawned 180 degrees out of phase with Saturday. It was calm, warm, and sunny. A perfect day to get out. Iím enjoying just following Gene, as I am usually in the thick of the route planning, but not this time.

Soon we encounter Clear Creek again and our next bridge. While the others encountered show the effects of age, this bridge show the effects of the tender hands of care. It may be illusionary, but a fresh coat of silver paint states that people are proud of this bridge.


Gene decides that it is my turn to be the model, so off I go to cross the bridge a second and then third time. Fun!


At first we are concerned when we encounter a survey stake, but we decide it is old. Iím sure the bridge is doomed, but it will silently serve to connect humanity until humanity tosses it aside onto the trash heap of history.


Obviously, we are not the only people that like the bridge, as there is a nice little turnout adjacent to the bridge where we park our bikes while we walk about.


Not one car passes while we are there.

[ ... next up ... there are flowers in the fields ... ]

Goat Trail Green
04-18-2007, 09:40 AM
Hopefully next time I will atleast get an invite on the ride I wasn't on. Whether I am in the same state or not. :sun:

Great pics guys!! I like the rest love the bridges !!

So how were the bikes ?? Tony what do you think about it now you have done some paved roads and straight gravel ??

Gene how about yours ??

Mike Green

04-18-2007, 09:54 AM
I recognize that second bridge; have crossed over it several times, just north of Bolivar, on Waide road right? I have even parked my bike in that exact spot to go take pictures. I rode thru there on the way up to "Burned out bridge road" north of Nocona,.....on Sunday as a matter of fact; probably barely missed seeing each other. Hopefully they will never pave that road. I love that area up there, so we need to get together and ride soon.


04-18-2007, 05:11 PM
yep that last bridge is waide road. more bridges to come.

04-18-2007, 06:39 PM
Hopefully next time I will atleast get an invite on the ride I wasn't on. Whether I am in the same state or not. :sun:

Great pics guys!! I like the rest love the bridges !!

So how were the bikes ?? Tony what do you think about it now you have done some paved roads and straight gravel ??

Gene how about yours ??

Mike Green

Mine is nice and getting nicer ... tank should be here next week.

We didn't call because we knew you were out of the country. :sun:

04-19-2007, 06:32 AM
As promised, flowers in the fields.

It is funny how the bluebonnets seem to stop along a line that roughly parallels I30. To this point we had seen narry a one. We had passed a field of Scarlet Flax, but we didn’t stop as the surroundings were a bit bland. If I had known that there would have been a dearth of flower photo (easy for you to say) opportunities, I would have found a way to get the shot. Live and learn ...

In any case, onward we rolled after the bridge on Waide Road and we soon topped a hill and I spied an acre of yellow in the distance. Gene was of a like mind, so he was already slowing as I wicked it up a notch to catch him. Like minds from riding so much together is all I can guess.

Now, the field was full, but they were across the barbed wire and I didn’t want to trespass, so I cannot positively identify them.

They were pretty though, don’t you think?



An arty shot ...


After leaving the edge of the field, we continued north and I grabbed another shot along the road. As you can tell, the majority of the gravel roads in the area have been graded to accept city slickers in their SUVs.


[ ... next up is a neat little grotto ... ]

04-19-2007, 08:21 AM
Crossing State Highway 51 near the Denton / Wise County line the road dropped down a notch in maintenance, which suited us fine. Sand appeared where roadbase was the surface of the road behind us. All the better, we motored on and the trees began to crowd in on the roadbed.

Rounding a corner with the ubiquitous S curve yellow warning sign, we encountered a scene almost foreign in this part of Texas. There was a small rock outcropping and grotto, where the creek had washed out the rocks. Large rock were topsy turvy in arrangement, indicating that large amounts of water flowed across the road at various points in the year.

Lucky for us, the water was only inches deep, but we were lucky enough to be there in the springtime. I am sure the creek dries up in the heat of the summer.



From below ...



Your intrepid adventurers ...


I’m on the left.

[ ... more in a moment ... ]

04-19-2007, 08:46 AM
One last shot at the grotto ...

Gene’s new ride waiting patently for us to return.


Then it was off in search of more bridges. We soon encountered a battle between the old and the new. Some days I wonder what engineers are thinking and I ALWAYS wonder what traffic engineers are thinking, so finding a new bridge next to an old abandoned bridge, got me to wondering WHY?


Now, I am all in favor of saving stuff, but why not make the new bridge more compatible with the old bridge and why abandon the old bridge? Am I the only one that thinks they are worth saving and USING? I cannot imagine that I am. Sure the load factor and width of the old bridge might not be “modern”, but a 12 foot wide bridge next to the old bridge for one way and heavy traffic and a bit of work on the old bridge and you get the best of both worlds.

OK Tony, take a deep breath! I’m better now.

Am I the only person that thinks this would be more fun to cross?


Looking back down the road less traveled from the location of the “new” bridge.


BTW, two cars came along in the entire time we were on the section of road that used that bridge.

OK, I swear I am better now ...

Here is a shot of the creek looking northward (upstream)


While sitting there waiting on me, Gene spied a “trail” to the creek bottom.

[ ... next up ... a “proper” creek crossing ... ]

04-19-2007, 02:24 PM
Super nice write up and pics there Tony!! It's funny, the old bridges look like a lot like the ones we crossed in Mexico. And the new ones on some of the bigger, taller river crossings. Old steel and wood bridges are cool.

04-19-2007, 04:49 PM
Tony maybe it's time to call irondawg.....


Have you called Irondawg yet? You have a bike he needs.