View Full Version : Easter Saturday at the beach, 2006

04-16-2006, 11:04 AM
Work took me to Beaumont, TX, for the week before Easter this year so I thought it would be fun to take a bike along and go explore the Gulf Coast Beach area.
It's been years since I went to the East Texas beaches and since the storms of 2005 I expected things to have changed a little.
I'd hoped to hook up with "Hoop", Ray Hooper, in Beaumont and have some company but he had other other plans and couldn't make it.
I'd just about shelved the idea when mc_rider, Chris Hardy, picked up on the post and said " I can join you". Great, the ride is back on!
I hadn't ridden with Chris since December of 2005 when he'd had the misfortune to break his collar bone riding just North of the Terlingua Ghost Town in West Texas. Chris had gone through therapy to rehabilitate his shoulder and was feeling ready to do a longer ride.
Chris is an inspiration to all who know him because of his passion for riding. He's a very colorful character and I love riding with him because it means I'm not the old guy in the group.
Anyway back to the ride.....

By the time we were ready to meet at the Waffle House in Winnie, TX, we had been joined by five other riders making the group :

Jim "XRCajun" Guillory
Gary " bajarat" Pillips
Bryan" dbdolan" Dolan
Bill " basebill" Neeley
Chris "mc_rider" Hardy
Scott " I don't frequent the forums" Guillot...Now known as "Greasemonkey"
Steve " XR650Rocketman" Smith

I'd ridden with all these guys at one time or another but this was the first time we'd all ridden together. Motor cycle riding is such a wonderful equalizer. Nobody cares who you are or where you live or what you do for a living or how many wives or children you've had. It just dosn't matter. It drives the wives crazy that when we get home all we know is that this guy's chain was loose or thet guys tire was worn out.

I was able to ride to Winnie from Beaumont and when I arrived everyone else was already there, having trucked or trailer from all over the place.

Breakfast at the Waffle House is always an interesting experience, I like to open the front door just enough to hear the staff holler " Good Morning " and then close it with me still outside. It always gets a reaction of some kind.
I think it'd be fun to read their employee manual some time. I think " Teeth optional" must be in there some where.

The guys unloaded and parked just across the street on a vacant lot and we took off heading South on Hwy 124 towards High Island.
The weather was perfect, even for East Texas. The humidity was quite low and the temp was in the 70's.
Bill Neeley had his GPS with him but I hadn't even bothered to bring a map. It was just one of those laid back days when not much mattered.
The ride to High Island is all blacktop and other than a bridge or two is as flat as a pancake. High Island is also a misnomer, it's probably only about 30 feet higher than the rest of the world but it does stick out from a distance.
The gas station in High Island has reopened but most everything else is still in varying states of storm disrepair. A sign of things to come.
At High Island the Gulf is very visible and with the sun shining brightly it was a beautiful sight. Living in the Austin area I've spent so much time riding Central and West Texas that I'd forgotten the sight and smell of the sea.
It instantly brought back memories of the Sea of Cortez on the East side of Baja, until we got to the waters edge and saw all the trash on the beach and the ugly brown color of the water.
Hwy 87 used to go East and West from High Island but previous storms had washed away the road to the East, leaving broken up blacktop here and there. Just what were looking for on todays ride.
Heading East on the beach we passed a few fishermen and an occasional group camping here and there but the beach was rough for the most part and dodging all the debris was keeping us busy.
The group soon get their soft sand riding skill sharpened up and no one was having any serious problems. After a few miles it's possible to sit back, loosen the death grip on the bars and just start enjoying the sights.
Object on the beach appear in the distance and guessing what they are becomes quite a game. With the whole world being so flat things appear distorted in the distance. On our left is nothing but flat marshland all the way to the horizon. On our right the Gulf goes on forever and you can see the curvature of the earth, dotted with drilling rigs, poking up here and there.
We rode East to the Sea Rim State Park, where beach travel is not allowed. Here Hwy 87 comes in from the East to the Park so we jumped up onto the highway, passing the still closed park and heading for Sabine Pass.
There is no access back to the beach here, that we could easily find, so we cruised the two lane amazed by the visible damage to everything is site. Storm damaged houses and barn and trees and vehicles and piles and piles of personal belongings were everywhere.
We rolled into Sabine Pass and turned Right at the stop sign. This road takes you past the still closed historical site, through the forest of oil drilling rigs in port for ever or just for repairs and dead ends at the most South Easterly point of Texas. Here the pilot boats are stationed to escort the ship traffic into the ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur. It's hard not to feel kind of small, sitting here on our bikes looking at these giant drilling rigs and passing ships. Thoughts of what it must of been like here during the storms flow in and out all the time.
Sitting in the wettest part of Texas the conversation turned to the TRH Terlingua Dual Sport Ride for 2006, held as most people know, in the "dry capital" part of Texas, Brewster County. West Texas just seemed so distant at this time and we felt so lucky to live in as state with such diversity.
The conversation bounced around and around to many different subjects until one of the younger guys, Jim "XRCajun" commented that after discussions about medical procedures it was obvious we're not a bunch of teenagers any more. He was right but we all felt like teenagers right then. Helmets and riding gear are the other great equalizer. Dressed up as Power Rangers were are ageless.
Time to get rolling again and we head North up the Hwy 87 blacktop along side the ship channel, passing all the locals fishing and crabbing, over another bridge and through the refineries of Port Arthur. A slight detour for a gas fill up and we're on Hwy 82 crossing the immense Gulf Gate Bridge over the ship channel and on to Pleasure Island. Sabine Lake is straight ahead as we crest the bridge but it looks like the Gulf of Mexico, it's so big.
At the end of the bridge we follow Hwy 82 towards Cameron La.
Now we're riding down the other side of the ship channel and cross the swing bridge and enter Louisiana, not that you'd know it, the sign blew away along with most everything else. The wind, which has been ever present, really picks up as we enter Louisiana and we get blown around quite a bit as we ride the blacktop of Hwy 82 East. It's really strange to be riding through an area that has so much visible storm damage and to be encountering such strong winds. It's like someone is trying to remind you of what happened here. The wind is saying " Don't forget".
As it turns out, you can't forget. A massive barge is sitting at the side of the road, washed and blown miles from its' mooring. Debris is still in the damaged trees. All round the damage is much much worse than back in Texas.
The boring blacktop is finally forgotten when we reach the Right turn, signed to the beach.
Suddenly we had stumbled into D/S heaven again, as you'll recall we had no map, by choice, and we couldn't be bothered to stop and check Bill's GPS.
The beach here stretched out before us like a beckoning magic carpet. It was much wider than back in Texas, a little smoother and a lot whiter. We were off heading East at a high rate of speed, the seven of us spread out all over the place. Taking turns being in the lead and hanging back to watch the rest of the gang having a ball.
Some beach homes on stilts came into view, eveything below the decks washed away and most everything above blown away. Some had already been rebuilt and they look starkly unreal in the middle of the skeletons.
We stopped briefly at the water's edge to visit and look at the GPS and saw that Holly Beach was ahead and then Cameron.
As we approached Holly Beach we saw that they had built rock breakwaters just of the beach and these had caused the beach line, which had been very straight so far, to become nicely curved.
Imagine if you will, a line of bikes in top gear, sliding around all these sweeping contours of this pristine beach. Where was the movie camera? "On any Easter Saturday" was being played out right there.
Yes I said " Pristine Beach" Where was all the trash and debris we'd encountered on the Texas beach? It was so clean here!
That's when the chills set in as we saw Holly Beach!!!
It was gone!!! All that remained were some of the pilings or stilts that the houses had been built on. There was no debris....It was washed and blown miles inland with everything else from the beach. A few residents have put travel trailers back on their properties and were sitting on their makeshift decks. We felt like visitors to another planet looking at what was once Holly Beach.
Continuing on the beach becomes a lot rougher again but runs along side the highway and we couldn't help but notice that the traffic was in groups. A group, and then a long space with no one, now another group, another big space, another group. An occasional biker or two but everyone in groups. They looked like they were travelling in convoys for security, it was odd!
The beach finally stops at the river just to the West of Cameron. We met some guys on three wheelers and quads who were very suprised to see us and even more suprised to hear we had come from Winnie, Texas.
They directed us to a trail off the beach and onto the highway to the ferry across the river into Cameron.
The ferry was small and interesting and free. Nobody seemed to take much notice of the "Magnificent Seven" on their iron horses.
As we rolled into Cameron it was very different to what we'd seen in Holly Beach. The devastation was again almost total, hardly anything had been spared but all the debris was still there. Buildings that had not blown away had caught all those that did and it was an awful sight. A temporary building was just about the only store open for snack and drinks.
Much of the final beach ride had been on oyster shell and a piece of one had entered Chris' rear tire and caused a flat. We found some shade under what had been a corner gas station and store and changed the tube.
Gary went to the store and treated us all to Cokes. As we had feared there was nothing left of any restaurant so we snacked on protein bars that I keep in my backpack for emergencies, marveled at the sights and sounds of bulldozers demolishing what was once Cameron, and saddled up and headed West to the ferry.
No gas station has survived but there was a marine fuel depot close to the ferry that was selling gas from the massive tanks. Most interesting $2.70 a gallon.
While waiting for the ferry we decided to do a "ferry to ferry" ride next time, from Galveston to Cameron, that would be fun!
From the ferry we retraced our route all the way back to High Island. By this time of day there were a lot more people on the beach and we needed to watch out for low flying kite string, people in "Thongs", topless sunbathers, Fish and Wildlife agents who stopped us , checked out tags and reminded us the speed limit was 25MPH, Sheriffs Dept and Parks and Wildlife agents.
From High Island it was back up the highway to Winnie and the end of an interesting days ride.
Jim summed it up nicely we he said " I didn't think beach riding would be quite so taxing"
Hopefully Bryan got all the pictures and can post them for us.

Thanks to all for being such good company.


I guess you all figured out like we did what the deal was with the traffic in Cameron. Everytime the ferry unloaded there was a group of traffic and then nothing for a while 'til it went to the other side and loaded up again. There was just one ferry boat running so it took a while.

Great pics Bryan.....Thanks.

04-16-2006, 12:33 PM
Excellent report Steve, I had a great time riding with everyone. We had a great bunch of guy's and it was a excellent day for a ride. I think the ride was around 242 miles and maybe 150 of it was sand and nasty shell. I took a lot of photo's so here they are, I will keep my comments short.
The gang gathering across from the Waffle House in Winnie, TX.
Bill " basebill" Neeley
Scott " I don't frequent the forums" Guillot
Me... Bryan" dbdolan" Dolan
Steve " XR650Rocketman" Smith and Gary " bajarat" Pillips
Jim "XRCajun" Guillory
We made it to the beach at High Island, TX.
Chris "mc_rider" Hardy
Jim "XRCajun" Guillory
Steve " XR650Rocketman" Smith
yep that sum's it all up
Bryan" dbdolan" Dolan
Bill " basebill" Neeley
A life boat washed up from Hurricane Rita, just West of Sea Rim State Park
Some man made rip rap along the beach to prevent erosion, I guess...
Getting some sun on my bald head
Entering Sabine Pass, TX.
Heading to Port Aurthur, TX.
Everyone gassing up, I am on the KLR tanker so it will be a while before I need gas
Ahhh the smell of money....refinery after refinery
Across the Gulf Gate Bridge to Pleasure Island
Nice view from the bridge of Sabine lake
Made to the beach in Louisiana
Like Steve said.....Dual Sport heaven
A couple of the guy's taking a quick break

Here is a group shot of the gang, from left to right:
Steve " XR650Rocketman" Smith, Bill " basebill" Neeley, Bryan" dbdolan" Dolan, Jim "XRCajun" Guillory, Chris "mc_rider" Hardy, Gary " bajarat" Pillips, Scott " I don't frequent the forums" Guillot.

More junk that had washed up on the beach, although it came in handy as I used it as a tripod to get the previous group shot
This was one of a few sea animal's that washed up on the beach, it is sad to see such a large sea turtle dead on the beach. The back end was gone, not sure if a large shark was trying to make it it's meal.
On the ferry over to Cameron, Louisiana
Entering Cameron, LA.
Cameron, Louisiana took the brunt of the storm and it sure looked like it...total devastation
Chris had a nasty piece of shell puncture his tube, so he did some tire repair at what used to be a shell station.....man what luck
Hey the gas pump still worked.....just kidding. Fuel is still hard to come by down here.
We had to fuel up at the marine fuel depot
Heading back home the way we came
Some nasty trash, a bird nest of bailing wire wrapped around the rear axle
That is all the pics, I had a great time and can't wait to do it again.

Texas T
04-16-2006, 12:57 PM
Was that a lifeboat from an oil rig sitting on the beach?

Cagiva 549
04-16-2006, 06:57 PM
I was curious if the Camron ferry had survived the storm , looks like thats about all . great ride pics . I see you survived the nude beach without destroying your eyes . SEYA

04-16-2006, 07:21 PM
Any pics from the nude beach?

Looks like a cool ride.. Sorry I missed it.

04-16-2006, 09:48 PM
No pic's from the nude beach, those people should not have been naked. We just flew by them and laughed inside our helmets. Brian I guess the life boat washed a shore from Huricanne Rita, it was near that big buoy that other people have posted pics by.

04-16-2006, 10:30 PM
It does not look like a ride in that life boat would have been much fun :shock:

Great pics! Looks like a blast!

Cagiva 549
04-16-2006, 10:50 PM
Last time I rode through there it gave new meaning to the word obscene. SEYA

04-17-2006, 07:18 AM
Any pics from the nude beach?

Looks like a cool ride.. Sorry I missed it.

same coast line ...... just way south, just north of the mexican border .... on south padre island

04-17-2006, 09:59 AM
Jim summed it up nicely we he said " I didn't think beach riding would be quite so taxing" I'm more sore all over than any where else. :doh: Guess my 1st ride back, excluding my Montgomery loop last Thursday (but that is another story), should have been a little tamer.

I new this ride would be fun, but I had no idea that riding down the beach dogging chunk's of highway 87, rope, buckets, refrigerators, turtles, etc. at 45 & 50 mph could be so much fun. :rider: We did not know the speed limit was 25 mph until we were almost back to High Island. We did slow down :lol2:

Did anyone see me catch the kite string with my neck? I had slowed down & the guy pointed at the kite just as the string hit my neck. He should have motioned to stop. Guess I don't under stand kite. Glad it broke quickly. Guess he was POed.

Great pictures Bryan.

04-17-2006, 01:14 PM
Bryan.....Thanks for the great photos and thanks to Steve for his great write-up.

To the others D/S's on the ride, I enjoyed meeting all of you that were new faces and names to me and the fellowship from all during ther ride is what makes a trip like this so memorable.

And I would like to add an additional note and that is addressed to Steve and Chris. I have to say that I am always so grateful to go on various offroad adventures when Steve and Chris are along on the ride. With the combined 137 years of off road experience these guys have, I always feel like come **** or high water, everyone is going to make it back to the starting point at the end of a ride......And I consider that 'priceless' and most reassuring coming from a greenhorn to D/S adventures.

Thanks again to all the cast and crew for a great day !!!

Gary :thumb:

04-17-2006, 05:13 PM
Bajarat....We are going to make you at home on your BRP in all kinds of situations before we're done....I wish you could have seen yourself in the "Konga" line sliding left and right down the beach in 5th gear, roosting sand at every corner.....It was a good time wasn't it?

Good to see you on the TWT Forum also.


04-17-2006, 05:47 PM
I have to say that I am always so grateful to go on various offroad adventures when Steve and Chris are along on the ride. With the combined 137 years of off road experience these guys have, I always feel like come **** or high water, everyone is going to make it back to the starting point at the end of a ride......And I consider that 'priceless' and most reassuring coming from a greenhorn to D/S adventures.

Thanks again to all the cast and crew for a great day !!!

Gary :thumb:

137 years??????

137 years divided by two is 68 1/2 years. Give or take a few that puts one of them in their 70's. :eek2: :eek2:

Somebody remind me to start carrying Oxygen when I ride with them two again.

Guys I am just kidding, both of you can ride faster than me with one flat and a broken chain. Well maybe not Chris he would just pass me then get around a corner and break a collar bone.:lol2:

The ride report was great Steve and the photos were really nice too. I thought about you guys while trying to fight through the dust clouds in Nacogdoches, man those filter skins work great!
I wish I could have made it.

By the way Chris are you riding this weekend at Brunes Mill?

04-17-2006, 05:54 PM
Nice ride report. I grew up in that area so it was nice to hear about familiar places. :) I was home last in march and its still a mess in some areas because of Rita.

04-17-2006, 08:33 PM
Great report and great pics too! Wish I could have been there.


04-17-2006, 09:43 PM
Glad you enjoyed the report and Bryan's pics....It's nice to see some "Unknowns" enjoy the posts enough to comment.
I guess we need to set the records straight on one item....Bajarats' 137 years comment may be the result of a little poetic license...I'll admit to having ridden for 42 years now, including last weekend, that is.
I'll let Chris speak for himself, I got a late start, maybe he got going at an earlier age...
Bajarat.....Can't wait to see you get a bike that matches the color of your gear....You and Chris will make a good looking pair.

Oh yeah....I will correct all my typos when I get time....I usually let Teeds write the ride reports because he's an ace at it....Teeds you're not allowed to miss any more rides!!!!

Hoop...Thanks for your input....We couldn't find any open way to the lighthouse!!!! I'll be back in Beaumont later this week, how's your schedule?


04-17-2006, 11:58 PM
Heck, we're still waiting to see Teeds pics from the Clayton ride... :roll:

04-18-2006, 09:38 AM
137 years??????
When I saw that, I thought "man Steve sure is old". :trust: For the record I'm only 65 on social security & medicare. Y'all keep working I need the money.
Guys I am just kidding, both of you can ride faster than me with one flat and a broken chain. Well maybe not Chris he would just pass me then get around a corner and break a collar bone.:lol2:
I resemble that remark. :rider:
By the way Chris are you riding this weekend at Brunes Mill?
I'm taking an average. I'll be start/finish flagman.

Good report & pictures, but both y'all forgot the ferry crew. :mrgreen:

04-18-2006, 01:54 PM
Hey glad you guy's enjoyed the pic's. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed riding with you guy's, if we ever do that run again I am in for sure. Maybe next time I can get some video clips and put together a little video. I can't believe I didn't get any shots of the ferry girl's, as for the nude beach....there was no way I was going to stop and get shot's of those freaks.;-) I finally got my new Dunlop D606's in the mail today, a little too late. I was needing new meat's real bad but ohh well, atleast I will have some good knobbs for Arkansas in a couple of weeks.:rider:
If any of you guy's want to just do a laid back county and forest road run look me up, I usually go out exploring the forest area on weekends.
Oh yeah, if any one had any other pics, post them up. I am going to burn Bill Neeley a photo disc of the ride. His PC is out of commision and is not able to see any of this.

Big Bandit
04-18-2006, 02:49 PM
I grew up in Port Arthur and have been to Vidor and Port Arthur since the storm. I wanted to go down to the beach and check it out, but I was too busy working and helping my aging relatives. I appreciate the pictures and the report, but it just makes me want to go see for myself even more.

04-25-2006, 01:31 AM
Wow, another great trip report! Awesome pics! I hate that I missed this one. The part where Chris mcrider tells of snagging the kite string made me laugh; I have to be careful not to wake any one up...it's 1:35AM as I type this. Again, great report!

05-14-2006, 02:52 PM
I made a correction to the picture caption's I posted. Sorry Chris, for some reason I called you Gary on that pic where you were repairing your tire at the beat up shell station. We need to do this run again, it was fun.:rider:

05-15-2006, 11:52 AM
I'm ready to do it again! :rider:

I've got a super tank now, 3.76 gallons. I actually had more gas left than I thought on the ride. Use the small tank petcock on the big tank & when I took it out the reserve standpipe was 4.75 inches long. When I filled the larger tank I checked the reserve on it, 2.1 gallons.

05-22-2006, 11:57 PM
Awesome ride!!!!!!!!

06-01-2006, 10:08 PM
Look's like a great ride let me know when the next one is coming up would like to join up. I have a street legal xr600r, would like to join up Matthew

06-01-2006, 10:54 PM
Welcome to the site :wave: