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Old 10-11-2018, 11:40 PM   #1
Texas T
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Texas routing help needed - please

I'm riding this route clockwise next Friday starting at 6 am which obviously puts me in the Houston area during rush hour on a Friday evening.





Coming north from Galveston I need to get to Luling. Bing Maps is taking me up into Houston and then west on I-10.

Is taking Hwy 6 from Galveston over toward Mo City a better option?

Can I ride the Sam Houston Tollway without stopping to pay the tolls? In other words will they take a photo of my plate, track me down and send me a bill or will I be breaking the law?

Same questions with regards to the 130 toll road north of Luling taking me north of Austin before I jump back on I-35.

If taking the toll roads and stopping to pay the tolls are my best options, what would the costs be?

Depending upon traffic I'm looking at 18-20 hours to travel this route, only leaving me 4 hours for fuel, food, and bio breaks, so anything I can do to reduce that travel time will be beneficial for me.
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Last edited by Texas T; 10-12-2018 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:46 AM   #2
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

In Houston, the toll roads are now all "tagged" ie no place to pay a human for the privilege of using the road. I'm pretty sure the 130 toll road is the same. And yes they will track you down. Be prepared to pay the toll plus a "service charge" (that's what they tried with me and I have the tag) of about $5 per toll not paid.
Friday afternoon rush hour in Houston... just sayin.. I think I'd just suck it up and pay the tolls once they catch up with you. Ride safe.
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:13 AM   #3
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

In Houston, yes basically breaking the law!! Not sure of the fine, but might get expensive. Coming in on I-10, at least your going against traffic, but 45 south could be a problem at that hour.

Are you going counter clockwise? But if coming north from Galveston, almost anything you do to skip Houston at rush hour is better. I live between Trinity and Huntsville if you need anything in that area!
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Sh130 in Austin is pay by mail as well. Last time I got a bill from them(before I got a tag), it was alittle pricey. But not ridiculous.

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Old 10-12-2018, 07:06 AM   #5
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Brian, here is the route I take out of town when I head west.


https://tinyurl.com/y8wt2f6v
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

You’re fine on the 130 toll road without any kind of electronic toll transponder. They will send you a bill in the mail. The rates are higher than having a transponder, but it’s all good.

It’s different in Harris county/Houston. You are required to have an account, and there is not always an option to pay cash. The toll authority will bill you for the tolls, but with a $5 fine for the first violation and $33 for subsequent violations. Not sure if a violation is the first single toll, or group of tolls from a single trip - suspect it’s the former. But you’re definitely at risk of receiving a multi-hundred dollar bill in the mail that will turn into a warrant if you don’t pay it.

There is a kinda/sorta end run around this. If you go onto the Harris county toll authority website and pay tolls & fines before they issue the violation notice in the mail, then you pay only $1.50 additional per toll. You look up your vehicle by license plate number. It can take 30 days to post, so you’d have to check daily for a month to be certain to catch them all. http:/www.hctra.org. I would not recommend this approach.

Given all this, my inclination would be to either get a toll transponder/account ahead of time or to route entirely around Houston and avoid the whole issue. Perhaps Hwy 6 up to I-69, then southwest to Hwy 36? Locals and or Google maps can predict how long this might take. I can tell you that heavy traffic on Friday afternoon will extend quite far west on I-10 - probably to Columbus, where Hwy 71 splits off from I-10.

Last edited by jcyuhn; 10-12-2018 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:21 AM   #7
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

You have probably done this, but check google traffic for the areas you plan to ride around the same time. The Sam Houston parkway still has toll plazas, but many of the other toll roads do not.

If you want to use the HCTRA roads without an EZ Tag research the EZ Tag Express mobile ap. It allows payment based on you plate and no transponder is required. It may not be available for motorcycles though. Give them a call.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Skies View Post
Brian, here is the route I take out of town when I head west.


https://tinyurl.com/y8wt2f6v
Second this, Houston rush hour is not something you want to be in when you have a deadline. Avoid it if possible.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:59 AM   #9
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Brian, you might check a route from Galveston to Yoakum to Luling. That would keep you well away from Houston traffic. I 10 west out of Houston at that time of day is a problem. Friday's are HORRIBLE for making time.

130 toll road will bill you via mail. Not saying I've ever done it but once you are north of the 130/45 intersection on the southeast side of Austin you can avoid additional tolls by riding the center stripe through the toll cameras. No sensors on the stripe on that part of 130.

Also pay attention to the timing of the Point Boliver ferry. There should be at least two running that time of day, so maximum wait is +- 30 minutes. Also, I don't believe there are any easy quick fuel stops on 130 so my advice is to plan to run that portion with plenty of fuel to make Georgetown.
Good Luck. I was hoping to make it but my wife's caregiver has to have that weekend off.
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:07 AM   #10
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

It's been a few years but HWY 6 south and west of Houston is mostly slow, school zones, lotsa traffic and tons of red lights. I would avoid that too.

Then there are Friday night football stadiums and 30 car caravans headed to the away games.
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:15 AM   #11
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

As you said, your route thru Houston proper at rush hour is not good.
Although motorcycles are allowed to use the HOV lanes, I-45 does not have inbound HOV in the afternoon.

Beltway 8 around the south side is a bit better, but when you get to the west side before you get to I-10, it can and will congest there.

Beltway 8 still has pay-as-you-go toll booths on the south and west side.

All other sections of toll road are EZ Tag only and for whatever reason, HCTRA has not adopted pay-by-mail like other toll road authorities around Texas and the US.

You can take Hwy6 out of Galveston but the speed limit varies as you go through Hitchcock and Santa Fe. I would take off west no later than Alvin. There are few Brazos River crossings through that part so if you don't use FM1462, you are headed into the mess.

The route suggested by DesertSkies is used by many of us on the southeast side of town use to get west.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

If Bolivar is like other Texas ferries they may let you jump the line on a motorcycle.
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Old 10-12-2018, 02:02 PM   #13
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

I would avoid Bolivar. They no longer allow motorcycles to cut in line. Plus Friday afternoon/evening is the heaviest traffic. If you elect to go Bolivar then check the ferry operation schedule because there have been times recently where they only ran 1 ferry and the lines get insane.

You're a very brave man taking I-10 west from Houston. We no longer get on it unless very short distances. If we're going west toward SA we always take 90A.

Any particular reason you WANT to come to the Houston area? If you're doing an Iron Butt I can think of many many better routes from Dallas.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:22 PM   #14
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Quote:
Originally Posted by drfood View Post
I would avoid Bolivar. They no longer allow motorcycles to cut in line. Plus Friday afternoon/evening is the heaviest traffic. If you elect to go Bolivar then check the ferry operation schedule because there have been times recently where they only ran 1 ferry and the lines get insane.

You're a very brave man taking I-10 west from Houston. We no longer get on it unless very short distances. If we're going west toward SA we always take 90A.

Any particular reason you WANT to come to the Houston area? If you're doing an Iron Butt I can think of many many better routes from Dallas.
Good to know about Bolivar.

BTW, if you're planning on taking 90A during the week and want to miss the gravel truck traffic between Houston and Altair, take 36 and 1093 instead. It's a couple of miles longer, but there is little to no traffic. Coming to Willowbend from the farm I take 1093 all the way to the Westpark Toll Road.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:30 PM   #15
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Hi all,

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. I'll read them in-depth when I get home tonight. I did correct my initial post to show that the route is actually clockwise which probably led to some confusion when you compared my statements to the map.

I'm a former 18 year resident of The Woodlands so I'm extremely familiar with the traffic issues.

It looks like I'm safe with billing on the 130 but I'll look into the SH Tollway concerns.

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Old 10-12-2018, 05:34 PM   #16
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Skies View Post
Brian, here is the route I take out of town when I head west.


https://tinyurl.com/y8wt2f6v
This is 2hr 37 min to go 127 miles. This is real time research today at 4:32 on this Friday afternoon with wrecks shenanigans according to your Google map route.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:21 PM   #17
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

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Originally Posted by StromXTc View Post
This is 2hr 37 min to go 127 miles. This is real time research today at 4:32 on this Friday afternoon with wrecks shenanigans according to your Google map route.
Don't know what happened to my link, guess google seen fit to reroute it. My orig was up 6 to Alvin, 1462 to 36, to needville, up to 59 then 90 to eagle lake then up to Columbus. No way would I take either of the routes google picked.

Stupit google.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:52 PM   #18
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Skies View Post
Brian, here is the route I take out of town when I head west.

https://tinyurl.com/y8wt2f6v
Your route is basically the same miles/time as if I rode north on 45 to the Tollway and took that around to the west side of I-10. I'll have to keep your route in mind IF it looks like I'll be fighting rush hour traffic because then your alternate roads will make a lot more sense. If I'm leaving Galveston late then I might be safe to stay on the bigger roads.

Thank you
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:13 PM   #19
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meriden View Post
If you want to use the HCTRA roads without an EZ Tag research the EZ Tag Express mobile ap. It allows payment based on you plate and no transponder is required. It may not be available for motorcycles though. Give them a call.
Terrific suggestion. Went there. Did that. All set. Thank you
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:24 PM   #20
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Re: Texas routing help needed - please

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Originally Posted by STing View Post
Brian, you might check a route from Galveston to Yoakum to Luling. That would keep you well away from Houston traffic. I 10 west out of Houston at that time of day is a problem. Friday's are HORRIBLE for making time.
I will definitely keep this in mind. I haven't yet checked my times from point to point to find out when I'll be predicted to leave Galveston, so if it's early Friday afternoon I'm probably going W and then NW to come back up to I-10, but if I'm leaving Galveston any time after 7 pm I think I'll be safe to stay on the main roads.


Quote:
you can avoid additional tolls by riding the center stripe through the toll cameras. No sensors on the stripe on that part of 130.
Good to know.


Quote:
Also pay attention to the timing of the Point Boliver ferry. There should be at least two running that time of day, so maximum wait is +- 30 minutes.
Good point. I'll need to pull up the schedule and compare it to my routing times. I've never been on a ferry, let alone be on one with a bike. What do I need to be aware of?


Quote:
Also, I don't believe there are any easy quick fuel stops on 130 so my advice is to plan to run that portion with plenty of fuel to make Georgetown.
I'll try to remember to fuel up as I leave Luling.


Quote:
Good Luck. I was hoping to make it but my wife's caregiver has to have that weekend off.
Sorry to hear that. This week is the five year anniversary of my wife's stroke. She won't remember that and I'm not going to remind her of it. Our son is currently living with us and she's self-sufficient these days so I don't have any real concerns about leaving her behind.


.
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