PDA

View Full Version : A flooded hill country dual sport ride


Trail Boss
05-07-2006, 08:34 PM
Flooded Hill Country Dual Sport Ride


It has been raining the past few weeks here in the Texas hill country. Last weekend we had significant thunderstorms pass through the area and then during the week we had more rain. The heaviest rains came Friday and Saturday evening though – with some areas getting several inches of rain in just an hour or two (my neighborhood being one of them). Of course, this results in increased water levels in the area creeks and rivers and flash floods in some areas.

The storms blew out Saturday evening though and the weatherman predicted Sunday would be a nice day. Might as well make the best of the situation and go for a ride. Maybe go check out some of the dual sport roads in the hill country that I typically ride under better weather conditions. Though it was late Saturday afternoon I put out a call to anyone for anyone who wanted to ride to join me Sunday morning for a hill country romp. Two riders - Claire and Paul – had the time and inclination to ride so the 3 of us set out for a full day of riding.

Our general plan was to work our way west and north via back and unpaved roads to Llano for a delicious lunch of BBQ at the World Famous Cooper’s in Llano. There were several dual sport roads between here and there that neither Claire nor Paul had ridden, so I plotted our route and we launched on our mission at 8:30 a.m.

Heading west on Hamilton Pool Road / FM 962, things went smoothly except for the blanket of fog that covered the hill country. I wasn’t concerned since the fog wasn’t horribly thick, plus I figured it would burn off in an hour or two. We maintained a reasonable pace for the conditions and made our way west.

Things came to a screeching shot when we reached the bridge across the Pedernales River. A barrier alerted us that water was over the bridge. I hoped that the barrier had been placed the previous evening, that the water level had fallen so we could safely cross the low water bridge and the county just hadn’t been out to pick it up yet. Such was not the case. Not only was water still flowing heavily across the bridge, but there was a stranded truck on the bridge too.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/1PedernalesRiverat962.jpg

I spoke with a couple of fellows in pickup trucks who were doing the same as us - looking over the situation. One of them told me the truck on the bridge had gotten stranded the previous evening and a water rescue had been required to get the people in the truck out.

The truck’s emergency flashers were barely working so the batter was probably about dead. It looked like the only thing that had kept the truck from being swept off the bridge was the concrete barrier on the side of the bridge.

My KLR checking out the situation
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/2PedernalesRiverat962.jpg

Claire surveys the situation
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/3ClairePedernalesRiverat962.jpg

We decided the water was simply too high and moving too fast for us to safely cross. So we made a U-turn and headed back east on Hamilton Pool Rd. Since Hamilton Pool Road was a key road in our route to Llano I had to come up with a new route. After some thought I decided we would run our route backwards and use our planned afternoon return route as our primary route to get to Llano. I figured we could slip south on the northern part of Bell Springs Rd, which would route us to Fitzhugh Rd and our new route. However, I had never ridden the northern half of Bell Springs Rd so I wasn’t sure if it went all the way through. A few miles south we reached a gate and the end of the road. Another u-turn and a few miles took us back to Hamilton Pool Road and more retracing of our steps. Finally we reach Hwy 12 which we ran south to Fitzhugh Rd. The entire episode of dead ends and u-turns took about an hour, but we were finally back on track.

Our trip west on Fitzhugh Rd took us to Johnson City, where we took a quick break. From there we ran west on CR 204, a typical hill country county road – no center stripe, no shoulder, and abundant ups, downs, arounds, and scenery.

They are called Longhorns for a very good reason
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/5Longhorn.jpg

Paul and Longhorns
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/4PaulandLonghorns.jpg

As we continued to work our way west and north, we traveled Warmund-Ahrens Road. This is a single lane, paved road, but the pavement is not in the best of shape making this a dual sport road. Not surprising, there was lots of debris on the road from the previous evening’s storms. Plus there were lots of sheep and a few llamas hanging out near and on the road.

Llama on Warmund-Ahrens Rd.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/6Llama.jpg

A short time later, we ran across some more Llamas that were very interested in us. I stopped to have a closer look at them so they decided to have a closer look at us. One of them circled around behind us and snuck up on Claire. I was going to grab a picture of the two of them but Claire was anxiously signaling me to get moving again – the Llama was making her just a little too nervous. So, sorry, no pic.

After more great hill country riding on the Willow City Loop, we headed north to Llano and lunch at Coopers. Three and half hours after leaving Austin, we finally arrived in Llano.

When lunch was finished, we headed west to Castell. There were some unpaved roads in that area that I wanted to ride. These roads have a high sand content and the recent rains made traction an iffy thing. At first we made slow progress, with our bikes slipping sideways on the slick surface. We hadn’t gone very far when I made a decision to stop and check if my two riding partners were okay with this road. It would be easy to drop a bike on this wet, sandy surface. After a quick pow-wow, we decided to push on to see if the road condition improved.

Claire on Keyserville Rd. You can see the wet sand pretty easily in this picture.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/7ClaireonKeyservilleRd.jpg

A short time later the road surface did improve and some parts were even dry. We did get a little more comfortable riding on the sand and were able to pick up the pace.

We crossed numerous water puddles and a few little creeks. It was easy to see that there had been some significant rain in this area recently, as parts of the road were washed out from where the water had flowed across.

On House Mountain Rd we came upon a large water crossing. The water was flowing fast and deep. After surveying the situation, Paul plunged into the water with gusto, confident he could make it across. Sure enough he was right so Claire and I joined him on the other side. He did such a good job of blazing the trail that I suggested he do it again, this time while my camera was in position to catch his every move.

Here’s the action sequence.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/9PaulwatercrossingonHouseMtnRd.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/10PaulwatercrossingonHouseMtnRd.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/11PaulwatercrossingonHouseMtnRd.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/12PaulwatercrossingHouseMtnRd.jpg

Which picture do you like best? I like the 3rd one most.

Life was good and we were having a great time. These were really fun roads, even with them being wet, sandy, muddy, and flooded at times. Every time we crossed one of the obstacles Claire would laugh for 5 minutes afterwards. She kept scaring the heck out of herself trying to cross each of these obstacles on Rosebud, her mighty Wee-Strom. Each time she was successful (which was every single time) she was so thrilled she would just laugh and laugh. It was a real kick to hear.

I grabbed a shot of this fixer-er-upper special. It needs a little work, but at least it has electricity.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/13FixerUpperSpecialonCR112.jpg

We tried to run CR 315 east across Sandy Creek, a road I’ve ridden numerous times, but ran into a little obstacle – a raging river.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/15ClaireSandyCreekcrossing.jpg

Paul was blazing the trail but got his KLR stuck in the sand at the river’s edge. No kickstand required as the wheels buried in the sand kept the KLR upright.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/16PaulsKLRnokickstandneeded.jpg

Paul, Claire, sand buried KLR, and the river that was Sandy Creek
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/14PaulClaireSandyCreekcrossing.jpg

There was no way we could cross this, so we would have to backtrack for the 3rd time of the day. Getting Paul's KLR out of the sand was easy. With him gunning the engine and me pushing we got him turned around and out in a jiffy. We retraced our steps to the pavement and then simply slabbed it back all the way to Austin.

9 hours after our departure, we arrived back home. The obstacles and u-turns of the day had simply made the day that much more of a fun adventure on our flooded hill country dual sport ride.

bobcat
05-08-2006, 08:59 AM
A short time later, we ran across some more Llamas that were very interested in us. I stopped to have a closer look at them so they decided to have a closer look at us. One of them circled around behind us and snuck up on Claire. I was going to grab a picture of the two of them but Claire was anxiously signaling me to get moving again – the Llama was making her just a little too nervous. So, sorry, no pic.


The dreaded Guardian Llamas were very protective of their flock of sheep. I was skeered! :nono: It's a long story but I was almost trampelled by a herd of angry llamas once, so I like to give them a wide berth :lol2:

Here's some of my pics from the day:

http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353104-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353168-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353180-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353193-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353201-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353208-M.jpg

The Sandy Creek incident:
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353247-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353258-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353267-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353276-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353331-M.jpg

Acres and acres of sand:
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353363-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353379-M.jpg
http://bobcat.smugmug.com/photos/68353397-M.jpg

Thanks for leading the ride Richard!

db
05-08-2006, 09:56 AM
Good pics and reports. Glad :pray: y'all didn't go through the raging water you found on this trip. :thumb:

kurt
05-08-2006, 10:04 AM
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/2PedernalesRiverat962.jpg

Ah yes, one of our more frequent conversations:

Driver: What are you going to do about my (insert vehicle of choice)?

Me: Nothing. We came to pull you out. Could you turn on the hazards to serve as a warning to others, please? Now put this PFD and harness on please.

Driver: (jaw drops)

klrno2
05-08-2006, 11:26 AM
ooeeee...nice dualsport report! Good photos too!

leekellerking
05-08-2006, 12:12 PM
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c178/rgibbens/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride/Flooded%20Hill%20Country%20Ride%20small%20pics/2PedernalesRiverat962.jpg

Ah yes, one of our more frequent conversations:

Driver: What are you going to do about my (insert vehicle of choice)?

Me: Nothing. We came to pull you out. Could you turn on the hazards to serve as a warning to others, please? Now put this PFD and harness on please.

Driver: (jaw drops)

In Arizona they had so many idiots in Hummers and other SUVs trying to cross flooded rivers and creeks that they made it a citable offense to disregard the warning signs.

Now, when "Mr. Suburband Commando" in his H2 drives around the sign, gets swept down the draw, and has to be rescued, the Sheriff's office writes him a ticket. Then the bozo has to reimburse the County for the rescue!

BTW, it only takes a few inches of moving water to sweep a large SUV off a bridge. I'd imagine it takes less to take out a bike. Better safe than sorry in that type of circumstance.

Lee

(Great pics, by the way)

Chris-V65Magna-TX
05-08-2006, 12:16 PM
That was quite a ride! Great writeup and pics!

Trail Boss
05-08-2006, 12:58 PM
Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

Claire, thanks for posting your pics.

gotdurt
05-08-2006, 02:17 PM
You got lucky, here's what you rode through on House Mt Rd, (lower water level of course):
http://www.clfry.com/adv/centex0506/DSC_0694.jpg

I went around it, I was worried I'd slip into the grooves after hitting slime...
Here's my ride report from the previous weekend:
http://www.clfry.com/adv/centex0506/centexday1.html