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Graham, TX- 3 One-day Loops

Joined
Dec 15, 2012
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Location
Lubbock, TX
Just finished riding three day-loops based out of Graham, Tx. I parked my one-man RV at Lake Eddleman on the north side of town ($12 per night with electric and water). Each loop is nominally 200 miles consisting of about 70% dirt/gravel over class-2 county ranch roads. Nothing very technical but great scenery with lots of wildlife. Watch out for the hogs and deer since many of the roads have close-growing trees and high weeds. Had a couple of close calls with both so I kept speeds moderate. Low temps were in the low 40's, warming up to low 70's...perfect riding weather. I based the routes off the Roads of Texas map book and verified them on DOT Grid Map site. I rode everything except the section south of I-20 which I've ridden a couple of times before. Several late 1800's ranch houses plus a unique 1936 granite marker noting Robert E. Lee's meeting with the Comanches (don't tell anyone, they'll probably remove it). If I can figure out how to do it, I'll insert the GPX file and Map Source picture of the routes. If any one wants them, I'll post pictures of the paper map pages.

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Graham Loops.png


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Dallas, TX
Thanks, these are great - for those who want to combine the Tracks in Basecamp into a single loop;
  1. Select the Tracks you want to combine by holding down the Shift Key & clicking on each track, they will highlight in blue
  2. Right-Click (or Control-Click) on any of the highlighted and a menu will appear, select Join Tracks...
  3. This opens a dialog box showing the tracks you are about to join - select Join Tracks
  4. An option to retain or delete the old tracks will then appear, I delete them because I always have the original GPX if I need it
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Joined
Dec 15, 2012
Messages
44
Reaction score
18
Location
Lubbock, TX
Ride Report

Graham, TX Loops

15 October, 2021 – 18 October, 2021


This is my ride report covering three dual-sport day-loops out of Graham, Texas. I selected Graham because this oak-forested area is crisscrossed by a great variety of dirt county roads and boasts numerous creeks, lakes and rivers. I had previously ridden some of these roads so I knew it would be some fun riding. While nearly all of these roads are easy class-2, from gravel to graded dirt to two-track, the scenery and history are well worth the trip. I labeled the GPS tracks as Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest.

Day 1: I left Lubbock Friday morning around eight, even though it’s only about a 3 ½ hour drive to Graham. My plan was to arrive early enough to claim one of the RV spots at the city owned park on Lake Eddleman. The parking spots are a bargain at $12 per night with electric and water but are first come first serve. A few slots were available so I parked my mini-RV and then drove the two miles into town and grabbed some lunch. Bored sitting in my rig, I grabbed my helmet and rode into town and through Fireman’s Park, then up the hill on Fawn Trail. Lots of nice houses on the hill overlooking the town below. Then back down the hill, I rode FM-61 to FM-3003 which carried me for several miles around the shoreline of Lake Graham. Nearly to US-380, I turned west and then south on some dirt roads back to 61 and then back to the trailer. I had decided not to cook supper so I drove in for some Italian food.

Day 2: The temps during the night dropped to the low 40’s so I was grateful for my electric heater. Saturday morning, while I waited for it to warm up, I enjoyed biscuits, sausage, and eggs in the trailer. There was a very heavy dew on everything with temps in the low 50’s when I rode away around nine. I had decided to ride the Southwest Loop first so I left town on TX-67 to graveled Tonk Valley Rd. to FM-209 to gravel Miller Bend Rd. Headed west on US-380 I saw a county road sign for Wells East and quickly stopped to turn back and check it out. As I came to a stop the bike died and refused to restart. After sitting a couple of minutes, an 18-wheel gravel truck driver stopped and offered to help. After we checked all the obvious things, I tried it one more time and it caught. Since I had no more issues on the trip, the only thing I can figure is the sudden shutdown flooded the engine.

After Wells Rd., I crossed 380 to Proffitt and rode two-track to Hulse Rd. and Mexican Springs Rd. before zig-zagging into Throckmorton. The town now sports numerous RV parks for the wind-farm workers building farm west on 380. I gassed up and took a neat little side trip out of town by the country club and the town lake. From there I continued south on some really nice dirt ranch roads (250, 282,292) towards Fort Griffin State Park. At one point, CR-292 forked to the right but my track showed left onto 288. Looking at my paper map, I decided to check out 292 for a little way even though it showed to dead end. Really glad I did, as it was a neat ride that brought me to a copse of trees with a granite historical marker. Placed in 1936, it commemorated the 1854 peace parley between Col. Robert E. Lee and Chief Catumseh which established the Comanche Indian Reserve. Being almost hidden in the middle of this rugged country, I suspect few Texans even know it exists. Please don’t let any history revisionist know, they’ll want to have it removed.
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Also, about a quarter of mile further I came to picturesque low-water crossing of the Clear Fork of the Brazos. At that point I turned back to CR-288 to check out an old iron-truss bridge I’d seen on Google Earth. It looked like a possible back way into the park. As I had suspected, the bridge was intact but barred with a steel pipe preventing me from riding across. However, I did walk across and take some photos. Backtracking, I connected with US-283 and rode through the old fort without stopping except for a few pictures.

I continued a few miles into Albany on 283 where I ate some lunch at the DQ. I left town on CR-119 skirting the airport before turning south on CR-139. I then meandered east on county roads 144, 141, 103, and 290. At the southern finger of Hubbard Creek Reservoir, I headed south through the communities of Eolian and Harpersville, eventually turning back north at Gunsight. Following a circuitous series of county roads, I turned off CR-433 onto US-180 then north on CR-430 and 429. My planned route would take me via pavement by the west end of Possum Kingdom Lake. Instead, I rerouted on CR-417 north to Eliasville and then east to TX-67 and back into Graham. Was glad I rerouted as it was a good ride. Back in town about six, I was pretty tired after covering 230 miles so I stopped at Subway. After a quick supper, I retired to my rig to watch a movie while watching the sun set over the lake.

Day 3: It was Sunday morning and I prepared and partook of sausage and eggs. Taking off on the Northeast Loop around nine, it was under overcast skies and in the low 50’s once again. Leaving Graham on FM-2179, I forked off east on Flat Rock Rd., Rock Creek Rd., and Barton Chapel Rd. Most of the morning ride to Jacksboro I’ve ridden before but it’s a ride I never get tired of. The route suddenly climbs steeply up Kinder Mt. Rd. onto a plateau dotted with giant wind turbines. After dropping off on Rock Creek Rd., I meandered east on Salt Creek Rd., one of the best roads on the loop. Eventually I hit US-380 and rode into Jacksboro. For my lunch snack, I rode down into Sewell Park in the center of town … a historic site once popular with pioneers and Texas Rangers.

Leaving town on Causeway Rd., I discovered there’s an alternate way out of town that crosses Jacksboro Lake then runs past the airport before intersecting Causeway. Turning off TX-114, I traveled freshly rocked Coca-Cola Rd. north for many miles before heading west on FM-1810 to TX-59. Next, a great ranch road, Crooked Creek took me north several miles to FM-2127. Heading west on pavement a few miles, my route turned south on dirt again on the Old Post Oak Rd., another great ride that took me back into Jacksboro. Leaving town NW on TX-114, I rode north on Rogers Rd. to FM-2190. After several miles of slab, I enjoyed a good ride north up Roberts Branch Rd., crossing the West Fork of the Trinity River. Turning back south on Lynn Creek Rd., I crossed the Trinity again and was treated some more excellent riding. After briefly traveling US-281, I turned south on Barker Rd. then Mountain Rd. before heading west on US-380. I then rode a couple of short loops off 380, one south on FM-3209 and one north on Rocky Mound Rd., finally arriving in Graham after about 190 miles. Had some really good roads today except for the heavy crushed rock on a few of them. Warmed up to the low 70’s. I cleaned up a bit and went to town for some Mexican food.

Day 4: Well, it’s Monday and I’ve decided to cut my day a little short so I can load up and drive back to Lubbock this evening. “Smellin’ the barn!” There’s a section of the Southeast Loop that drops below I-20 for a few miles. I’ve ridden it a few times before so I decide to skip about 50 miles.

I left Graham around 8:30, again riding FM-2169 but this time I stayed on it as it turned to dirt and ran southeast to FM-1191. Then I connected again with Rock Creek Rd. which I rode to Halsell ranch Rd. and onto TX-4. Off of TX-4, I took the Old Christian Rd. to Oran Rd. and into the historic village of Oran for some photos. I then took Turkey Creek Rd. to Union Hill Rd. and into Mineral Wells. I rode past the old historic Baker Hotel which hopefully will one day finish its restoration. Leaving town on Millsap Rd., I turned south on Bennet Rd. to Dobbs Rd. … neat little meandering roads that eventually hit US-281 a little north of I-20. Turning back north on FM-129, I climbed up Chestnut Mountain Rd. which travels west for several miles atop a plateau before intersecting TX-4. This is where I diverged from my original track and instead of heading to Santo, I turned north and rode around part of the south and north shores of Palo Pinto Lake. Eventually, I wound around back to TX-4 and into Palo Pinto where I sat in the shade at the old court house and ate my snack. From Palo Pinto north, county roads are almost non-existent except for School House Mt. Rd. I had planned this as an alternate due to it ending at private property but I decided to give it a try. It was a fun 16-mile roundtrip that enters a narrow valley beneath low mountains as it follows the Fortune Bend of the Brazos. Back at TX-4, I rode to Chaney Ln. to TX-16 around the north east side of Possum Kingdom and into Graham.

Having ridden about 140 miles, I quickly loaded up, broke camp and headed for home, arriving about 8:30.

Epilogue: I would highly recommend these loops, particularly the Southwest and Northeast. Saw lots of wildlife … deer, coyotes, turkey, feral hogs, buzzards, and hawks. In fact, day two I had a really close call with a 300-pound sow that broke from high weeds right in my path on a two-track. Also surprised a buck that nearly got me, who then led me a quarter mile before he finally decided to jump a fence. I didn’t ride as fast as usual due to possible lurking animals in the high weeds and brush hugging the narrow roads. Serendipitously, there is some really interesting history in the area and the ubiquitous skeletons of old deserted and overgrown ranch houses, their broken windows still reflecting someone’s once-upon-a-time dream.

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