Friday, April 28, 2006

Chuck's Circumnavigation

Santa-Chuck and his crew of elves went all out on this ride just three or four weeks ago. This route is 330 miles and could take you 10 hours without including meal and gas stops. Now, that's according to my mapping software, your times will vary - usually shorter. Santa and his elves ran it including meals and gas in 7 1/2 hours.

Anyway, load up and take this ride when you want to see just what all the hubbub is about in the territory NorthEast, North, NorthWest, West and South of Houston.

Here's how Chuck saw it:

We met at Dixie Diner, IH45 @ Dixie Farm Rd(1959). Left diner at 9am
Leave the Diner through the parking lot back to 1959 and turn left to SR 3

Take 3 to Genoa Redbluff, turn Right to RedBluff

Take Redbluff to 146 and Turn Left to Mont Belviu

Continue on 146N through Mt Belview to 1942. Go left

Be careful
on the RR tracks crossing 1942. They are very rough–slow down
Continiue on 1942N to Barrett.
1942 merges with 2100. Follow 2100 left

2100 N through Huffm
an. North of Huffman, 2100 becomes 1485
1485 W through New Caney, past IH59 to 242. Go left

242W past IH45 to 1488. Go left

1488W to Magnolia. At 1774 go right

1774N through Plantersville to Anderson. Stop in Anderson to top off gas.

See historic old court house and memorial to Confederates

90 N out of Anderson to 244. Go left

244NW through Carlos. Stay on 244 over 30 about ¼ mile to Yankee
Tavern on your right. Great food, cold drinks and biker friendly. LUNCH We got here at 12:30pm

Starting back - 244SE to 3090. Go right.
Have you ridden the 3 sisters? 3090 is sister #4 with 20 miles of twisty roads and great views.

3090S to Hwy 6 (outside Navasota. Go right

6S to 90/105. Go right

105SW (Tx Independence Trail) to 390. Go right

390N and W through Independence to (intersection of 290). Gas up and rest.
Go right on 2
290W just a short distance to 2502. (stay in left lane on 290). Go left
2502SE to Nelsonville. At 159 go left
159E to Hwy 36. Go right

36 SE through Bellville to 529. Go left

529E to 359. Go right

359S through Brookshire, over IH10 to Flulshear (1093). Go left

1093E to
359. Go right
359S to Hwy 90A. Go right

90A a short distance to 762. Go right

762S to 1462. Go left
1462E to CR42. Go left.
This is a narrow 2 lane 1 bike road. Spread out and enjoy the scenery but watch out for wildlife.

CR42 E to 521. Go right

521S back to 1462 (about 2 miles). Go left

1462E into Alvin
We stopped the trip here.
Take your own route home from
370 miles from Dixie Diner to Alvin. Time was 7.5 hrs. Enjoy the ride “Santa” Chuck

Thanks for another great looking route Chuck


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jim, Jim, Jim and Roger's wild ride (to Vegas)

Some of our friends have a different idea about the makings of a relaxing ride. Here is how one of the Jim's saw their recent trip to sin city:

We met at 5:00 am Friday The 14th in the Lowe's parking lot by Gulfgate. Off we went into the fog, taking the 610 loop around to 290 towards Austin, where we then went north on US 183 to TX 29. Stayed on TX 29 through Llano (it was still too early for lunch at Cooper's). Then took TX 71 to Brady, US 87 to San Angelo, through Big Spring and Lamesa. In Lamesa, we picked up TX 137 to Brownfield, then US 380 into New Mexico. Stayed on US 380 until we got to Roswell, New Mexico, where we spent the night after riding about 725 miles.

The aliens are very friendly there, so feel free to check into the Ramada Inn on the west side of town. Saturday morning we left Roswell and headed out on US 380 towards Socorro, where we had lunch. Then we took US 60 into Arizona, and at Show Low, took AZ 77 towards Holbrook, where we headed west on I-40. Made it to Flagstaff, where we spent a COLD night. Sunday morning (with the temp at 31 degrees) we headed further west on I-40, where we exited at #139 and got on Historic Route 66, re-joining I-40 at Kingman. Then it was west on AZ 68, crossing into Nevada where it turns into NV 163.

When we got to US 95, we turned left and rode about 1 mile to make a ceremonial visit to California. Then it was back up north on US 95 to our destination. We arrived at "Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall" early in the afternoon. After freshening up a bit, we rode to the airport to greet our wives, who had just arrived on a Southwest airlines flight. Seems it only too them 3 hours to get there instead of 3 days. But they missed out on things like dodging (and sometimes hitting) prarie dogs, seeing various wildlife along the way, getting a case of "monkey butt", wondering what would happen if you broke down in the middle of the desert where the nearest mechanic was 300 miles away, or having that full, bloated feeling, and knowing the nearest bathroom was at least an hour away. They also missed some of the most incredible scenery anywhere, that can only be enjoyed from the seat of a motorcycle. You could never get the same things out of a trip like this in a car. I know, because now I've done it both ways.

Thanks for the trip info guys. Glad to have you back.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chuck's Ride to Big Thicket

Not every riding group has their own Santa, but Midlife Cycles not only has one, they have THE one. And in the off season, Santa runs the back roads of Texas, Colorado, Utah and who knows where else under the alias of Chuck.

Last week, Santa-Chuck went on a loop to Big Thicket National Park

Here is the ride the way Chuck experienced it:

I left Dixie Diner and rode the back roads about 1 hr to Mt. Belvieu, then N to Rayburn, Romayor, Ace then E to Segno and started back S via Saratoga and E to Batson. I stopped for gas here at 160.4 miles. Some basketball 3-4 graders had buckets at the intersection 770/105, I needed a stretch, so I walked over. Their coach was there - it seems they made the national basketball playoffs and were collecting money. I gave them a $20 and told the kids and adults about our ride next Sunday (Ride for Kids). They may stop by. Neat bunch of kids - I had to spend more time telling them about MidLife Cycles since they saw the emblem on the back.

I got to Anahuac at 12:30 and had some of the best CFS, home made
mashed and a super fresh salad bar. Finished with a wonderbar homemade peach cobbler with blue bell. $10 w/o tip. It is called Woods Catering and it is just West on 61 at the intersection of 563. Headed home and arrived at 2:30pm.

The total trip from Dixie Diner was 242 miles
and driving time was 5 hrs. The fresh, cool, sweet smelling air was to die for. This is not the part of Tx where you see blue bonnetts and Indian paintbrush but lots of other flowers and greenery was everywhere from the recent rains. I'm still amazed to see houses with blue tarps from Rita and many with no one living there. Hope you had a wonderful ride today (if you went) and if not, shame on ya! "Santa" Chuck

Exit Dixie Diner (IH45/FM1959) and go 1959E to Hwy 3. Turn Left
Hwy 3N to light at Genoa-Red Bluff. Turn right
E on Genoa-Red Bluff to Red Bluff Rd. Turn left
NW on Red Bluff Rd to Fairmont Prkwy. Turn right
E on Fairmont to Hwy 146. Turn left
N or 146 to Business 146 - bear right
E on B146 to 55. Turn right
55 dead ends into 2354. Turn right
2354N to 3180 (bear right)
3180 over IH10 to 565. Turn right.
565E to 1408. Turn left
1409N into Dayton. At light, go over Hwy 90, over RR tracks to stop sign. At first street after RR tracks, turn right (1008). Fill gas in Dayton if small tank
1008N to 321. Turn right
321N to 163. Turn right
163E to 2518. Turn left
2518 (over 105) to 787. Turn right
787NE to 2610. Turn left
2610N to 146. Turn left
146N to 943. Turn right
943E to 2798. Turn right
2798S to 787. Turn left
787SE to to 770. Turn right
770W to Batson. Fill gas tank (160 miles from Dixie Diner)
At Batson, 770 heads south.
770S to Shiloh. Turn left on 563
563S to Anahuac.
At 4 corners in Anahuac, turn right off 563 to 61. Follow 61W (.2 miles) to Woods Catering on left. Good quality food at excellent prices. Homemade peach/apple cobbler.

Going home, take long or short route depending on time. I took short route.
Back to 563N to IH10.
IH10W to 565. Exit, go under IH10 SW on 565
565SW to 146. Turn left
146S to your exit.

Thanks for the route Chuck.


Monday, April 24, 2006

South Main Baptist Church - Saturday, April 29

South Main Baptist Church in Pasadena is hosting their first ever motorcycle ride. They'll leave the church property at 7:30AM Saturday morning after having some cofee and donuts at 7.

The ride will take them up the great route to Bellville where they will stop at Newman's Bakery for lunches and lots of sweet stuff. They'll be back home in time for supper, having run some of the sweetest twisties South of 290.

The map and turn by turn directions are below.

Whether you go on the ride or not, be sure to swing by the church some Sunday and see if this is the church for your family.


Depart Church parking lot
Turn LEFT (South) onto E Beltway 8 [E Belt Dr]
Merge onto SR-288 [South Fwy] (South)
At SR-288 CR-56 Exit, turn off onto Ramp
Turn LEFT (South) onto FM-521
Turn Right (West) onto CR-42
Turn RIGHT (West) onto (W) FM-1462
Turn Right on FM-762
Bear Right on FM-2759
Continue Straight on SR-99 [Grand Pkwy]
Turn LEFT (West) onto US-90 Alt
Turn RIGHT (North) onto FM-359 [Skinner Ln]
Turn Left on Winner Foster Rd
Turn RIGHT (North) onto Bois D Arc Ln
Turn LEFT (West) onto FM-359 [FM-1093]
Bear RIGHT (North-West) onto FM-1489 [Simonton Rd]
Cross I-10 on the overpass
Turn RIGHT (East) onto US-90 Bus
Turn LEFT (North) onto FM-359 [Bains St]
Bear left West) on FM-1458
Turn RIGHT (West) onto FM-3318
At FM-3318, Sealy, TX 77474, stay on FM-3318 (West)
Turn RIGHT (North) onto Diemer Rd
Turn RIGHT (East) onto Mt. Zion RD
Turn LEFT (North) onto Sunny Side Rd
Turn LEFT (West) onto FM-529 [Crump Ferry Rd]
Stop for Lunch at Newman's Bakery
Leave Newman’s on SR-36 continuing West [E Main St]
Turn LEFT (South) onto S Masonic St
Turn RIGHT (West) onto W Austin St
Turn LEFT (South-West) onto Mill Creek Rd
Bear RIGHT (South) onto FM-949
Turn LEFT (East) onto FM-1094
Continue (South-East) on Columbus Rd
Continue (East) on FM-1094 [Columbus Rd]
Turn RIGHT (South) onto SR-36 [N Meyer St]
Turn RIGHT (South-West) onto SR-350 Spur [N Circle Dr]
Bear LEFT (East) onto US-90 [HWY-90 W]
Turn Right (South) on FM-1458
Bear RIGHT (South) onto FM-1458 Rd S
Bear LEFT (East) onto FM-1458
At FM-1458, stay on FM-1458 (South)
Turn Right (South) on FM-1093 Rd E
Bear LEFT (South-East) onto N 1st St
Turn LEFT (East) onto SR-36
Bear LEFT (South-East) onto US-90 Alt [SR-36]
Turn RIGHT (South) onto SR-36 [1st St]
Turn LEFT (East) onto Southwest Fwy [US-59]
Turn LEFT (South-East) onto FM-762 [Thompson Rd]
At near Booth, stay on FM-762 [FM-1994] (South)
Continue (South) on Beard Rd [FM-762 Rd]
Turn LEFT (South-East) onto (W) FM-1462
Turn LEFT (North) onto CR-42
Turn RIGHT (South) onto FM-521
Turn RIGHT (East) onto CR-56
Merge onto SR-288 (North)
Bear RIGHT (East) onto Beltway 8 [S Sam Houston Pkwy E]
Arrive Back at Church


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Goldwing LCD

Isn't that a nice view from the cockpit of the 2006 Goldwing. OK, I admit it, this is a pic of a 2001 wing. Can you spot the differences? (There are at least three that you can see from this pic. If you all participate and email me your guesses, I'll publish the correct answers next week)

I couldn't get a nice pic of Brenda's cockpit what with flash, focus and overall photographic incompetence on my part, so I pulled this pic off the web. The point remains the same and that is that it is startling to me how dependent you can get on instrumentation, and how quickly.

The LCD screen went out on Brenda's wing last week. Three quarters of the screen was a sort of streaky black and you could see the display trying in vain to change as the situation demanded. The other quater was clear and unchanging. In all, the LCD screen that is home to the odometer, trip meters, time of day, audio status and settings, CB information, and on some wings the GPS was totally useless. I felt like I was flying blind. And on a month old wing with only about 2000 miles on it. My Harley never had this problem. 'Course it never had an LCD screen, CB or Stereo either, not even a clock. It does have two trip meters though, does that count?

After some schmoozing at Pasadena Honda, Mark the service manager ordered a new LCD screen for me last Thursday. Don't even ask how I got him to do that without even bringing the bike in for a look-see. Maybe I just have an honest face. Ok ok, I honestly have a face, is that good enough?

Well Mark's faith in me paid off. While I waited today, they replaced the $700+ component and now all is well again. No word on what caused the failure, but apparently they've had this problem in some previous GL models.

This one went all the way to Honda engineering though because it is the first failure of this type on a 2006 GL. Can you tell that I am basking in reflected glory? I am also hoping that the rest of you '06 owners don't have this problem, but if you do, rest assured that Mark has seen it before, and if he takes care of you like he did me, you'll be one satisfied customer.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kelly's 4 Hour Route - UPDATE From Kelly

NOTE: If you've already read this post and just want to see what Kelly had to say after he ran the route, head down to the Turn-By-Turn section and back up one paragraph.

Leave it to Kelly to find back roads, twists and turns where we mere mortals simply hit the highway. This route bodes well for those of us lucky enough to be able to go on the Midlife Cycles annual trek to Arkansas. If Kelly can find these roads in the coastal plain, just think what he can do in the mountains.

If you leave Pearland at about 10 - 10:30, you'll be through the obligatory trip down CR 42 and the new obligatory section down Cow Creek Rd in time to find lunch at Cowgirls Kitchen in West Columbia. You'll be going slow enough to spot it on your left, thanks to some construction going on. Just order whatever is on special. Today it was chicken fried steak and it was great. Mashed potatos covered in white gravy, green beans, corn and of course the steak. Lauren is likely to ask you if you want two steaks or just one. "It's the same price" she'll say. If you leave here hungry, it's your own fault.

After lunch, and before you get back up to speed, take a look on the right, where you'll see First Capitol V-Twin. If you want to remember what Harley shops used to look like before yuppies discovered the mark, stop in here and poke around for a minute. All the bikes are used 'cause this isn't a bonafide HD shop. And thanks to the construction and the apparent priorities of this shop, they are also all covered in dust. Peak in the back and you are likely to see a Vespa motor scooter up on the rack getting a once over. Don't miss the old choppers leaking oil on the floor either. Take a hard look here, you may find a bargain.

Once you've gotten your fill of a real bike shop, get back to the twisties that lead you to Sweeny and around the horn to Lake Jackson. You've not only traveled 90 miles at this point, you've also been down to about 5 ft above sea level and are soon to be even lower.

At Freeport, it is obvious that you are in the coastal plain and you can look left and right as far as the eye can see. (Hmmmmm, when is it that you can't look as far as the eye can see?) What I mean to say, is that you'll enjoy riding on top of Levee Rd and seeing all the marsh sights that you may not get to see very often.

You are basically headed North and home now and there will be some straight sections here. You'll get to Liverpool about an hour and a half after lunch so you might want to stop in for a Big Red at the General Store. If you want to stop anywhere else in Liverpool, you'd better know one of the 2,574 people who live there cause I didn't see anything else in that town. Nice folks though. Some of our group have met the local constabulary and have suggested that you might want to keep the speed needle in a conservative range around here. Rather than meeting the local sheriff, I suggest you ask to see the new kittens out back.

The rest of your trip covers some of the same roads that got you down South. In case you missed it on the way down, be sure to look left and spot the private ski lakes that someone built along Brister Rd. Man these folks must like to ski. Do you think it has something to do with the lean? Maybe they would also like riding bikes.

Enjoy this ride and be sure to thank Kelly for the turn-by-turn directions next time you see him.

Do you have a route that others might enjoy? Email me and let's get it posted.

Kelly ran this route Saturday and had this to say;

Ran the route just as posted, well maybe with a little extra purpose. Keep in mind the more bikes you have on a ride the more time it takes. This is what the GPS said when I finished.

Total time 3 hrs 13 minutes
Driving time 2 hrs 59 minutes
Stopped time 14 minutes
Average speed 52.6 miles per hour
Total miles 157.2

Riding with a little less purpose (lets say one that keeps everyone happy) and several short stops you can do this ride in four hours. If you have several bikes going at an easy pace and stopping for some sights plan on five hours. If you stop to eat make it five to six. This route is mainly back roads, so if you want to eat you may need to wander off the path a bit. As you ride the loop if you find a good place to eat let us know so we can post it.

This route crosses main roads many times, if you need to cut it short you can very easily.

Thanks Kelly

Start Pearland 518 (Broadway) and 1128
Go south on 1128 for 7 miles to Hwy 6
Cross hwy 6 onto Master rd. which will turn into Manvel Sandy Point rd. and go 6 miles to Brister rd.
Turn left on Brister rd. and go 4.25 miles to 1462
Turn right on 1462 and go 6.3 miles to 521
Turn right on 521 and go 2.5 miles to 42
Turn left on 42 and go 7.7 miles to 1462
Turn right on 1462 and go 3.4 miles to Cow Creek rd.
Turn left on Cow Creek rd which will turn into Nash rd. and go 2.8 miles to Pecan rd.
Turn left on Pecan and go .9 miles to Forest dr.
Turn right on Forest and go .3 miles to Brazoria River rd.
Turn right on Brazoria River rd. and go 1 mile to Nash rd.
Turn left on Nash rd. and go 12.3 miles to 35
Turn right on 35 and go 3.1 miles to 36
Turn left on 36 and go 1.9 miles to 522
Turn right on 522 and go 4.9 miles to 1459
Turn left on 1459 and go 3.2 miles to 524
Turn left on 524 and go 4.4 miles to 521
Cross 521 onto 316 (Stratton) and go 5 miles to 2611
Turn left on 2611 and go 7.7 miles to 36
Cross 36 onto 2004 and go 3.7 miles to Brazos River rd.
Turn right on Brazos River rd. and go 5.5 miles to 36
Turn left on 36 and go 5.1 miles to 1495
Turn left on 1495 and go 2.2 miles to 523
Turn right on 523 and go 1.2 miles to 332
Turn right on 332 and go 1.9 miles to levee rd.
Turn left on Levee rd. and go 3.8 miles to 523
Turn right on 523 and go 3 miles to Hoskins Mound rd.
Turn right on Hoskins Mound rd. and go 12 miles to 2004
Cross 2004 onto Liverpool Hoskins rd. and go 11.8 miles to 35
Cross 35 and go 1.7 miles to Parker School rd.
Turn left on Parker School rd. and go 2 miles to Russell rd.
Turn right on Russell and go 2.2 miles to 1462
Cross 1462 and go .5 miles to Brister rd.
Turn right on Brister and go 4 miles to Manvel Sandy Point rd.
Turn right on Manvel Sandy Point rd. and go 6 miles to Hwy 6
Cross Hwy 6 and go 7 miles to 518

Monday, April 17, 2006

GPS - mount and audio

Some of you have probably seen the GPS on Brenda's Goldwing. We had it on the Enchanted Rock trip (April 1-2) but it had a couple of problems that are finally fixed.

First, it is such a large screen (5 inch diagonal) that I didn't really like it mounted on the handlebars where it was on April 1. So I moved it to front and center as you see here. The mount is just a simple plate that uses 1 inch spacers to stand off of the two screws beneath the key cover plate. A RAM mount is bolted in place along with two rubber jam nuts that provide support without scratching the plastic underneath.

The second problem was engine noise in the audio. The Lowrance iWAY500c has a built in MP3 player that hooks into the 1/8 inch stereo auxilliary input inside the left pocket of the Wing's fairing. It is really nice to have your music loaded into the GPS and not fret over radio stations and the like. And the AUX input plug makes it all simple and clean to use. But somehow the installation with the iWay coupled an engine whine into the audio that made both the music and the voice navigation instructions unpleasant to have in the headsets.

Since the engine whine varied with engine speed, I assumed that the noise was being coupled in on the power leads and bought a P.I.E. NF-5 noise filter (pictured above) and installed it. This is a simple filter that connects to the battery +/- and sends clean 12Volts DC out on the blue wire to your component. It will clean up any alternator noise and such that is coming into your component through the power source. In this case, the NF-5 had no affect. We still had this unbearable engine noise in our very expensive GPS/MP3 player.

There is only one other common source of audio noise, and that's a ground loop. The problem is that ground loop noise is usually a more random popping or hissing and not related to engine speed.

Never-the-less, I bought a P.I.E. EIS-ILNO (pictured above.) It's an omni-directional noise filter that plugs inline with the audio signal. I had to replace the four RCA plugs that come on this filter with two (one male, one female) 1/8 inch stereo plugs which takes a little soldering skill. Once I did that and plugged it into the connector in that left hand fairing pocket, the noise was gone. My theory is that the shielding on the goldwing AUX cable and the shielding on the GPS were causing the ground loop.

A ground loop is when a shield conductor (that braided silver or copper wire on the outside of a coaxial cable) is grounded in more than one place in a system. Being grounded in more than one place allows extraneous and noisy current to flow in a sort of circle. This current can be heard as audio noise. Ground loops cause all sorts of havoc, and in extreme cases can even couple in energy from lightening strikes in places like refineries or buildings, although I've never seen that happen in a vehicle. Ground loops can happen on any vehicle powered audio device including XM radio, MP3 players or CD players and can be very difficult to diagnose. They are even more likely to occur when the shield is also used as a ground for the audio signal like it is in the Lowrance iWay and Honda Goldwing.

The EIS filter is basically a set of one-to-one transformers that de-couple the electronics on each side of the system thereby breaking the ground loop. It will clean up any noise that is coupled into the system on the audio wires themselves, as opposed to the power leads. You can also fix ground loops by acutally finding the second (and third, fourth...) place that the shield is grounded and disconnecting the ground from those places. That can be a tough job though and the isolator works pretty well.

The EIS filter took care of my audio problem and if you are having audio noise problems with your bike, the chances are that one of these two filters will fix your problem too. Each of these filters is available on the web for $10 - $15 plus shipping.

E-mail me if you want to discuss this posting, or let me know if you've fixed an audio problem on your sled.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Few Words on Safety

I've often wondered about that "freedom" thing that you always hear HD riders talk about. It's not freedom from work, or the everyday mundane although I think some riders think that is what they are feeling. The freedom we celebrate when we ride our machines is the same freedom that an airplane pilot feels when he is in the air. We are free in an extra dimension. We don't just go left and right, we LEAN left and right. Our bikes simply would not make the turn if we didn't use the extra dimension of freedom, and if that dimension wasn't there, frankly I'd rather be in a convertible.

But it is there, and that's why I love to ride. That's why you see me talking about scraping my pegs in those corners. But from time to time and not often, I get reminded that the unexpected can happen. On my ride today, I entered the corner pictured above eager to feel that freedom again. I was moving toward the camera in the proper lane as you see the photo. Below is what was waiting just around the corner and out of sight.

Nothing bad right. Just a limb, and not even in my lane. Since I love to scrape those pegs, this obstacle just gave me an extra incentive to lean a little more, and since I always maintain a bit of a safety margin, I could make the turn without even touching the brakes.

But I didn't make the turn, instead I stopped to move the obstacle, partly because I was afraid someone would get hurt, and partly because I knew I was coming back down this road later.

I figured it would make an interesting pic for the website, so I broke out the old Canon and took a couple of photos before moving the branch. You can guess what happened next, and if you can't you can see it below.

The truck moved into what would have been my lane, without being able to see around the turn. As you can see, he was in my lane well before the obstacle and you can trust me when I tell you that he stayed there pretty far into the turn. This could've been a bad day for me. The decision to go high or low would have had to have been instantaneous and we can assume that the truck driver would be making a similar snap decision. Lots of potential for high heart rates in this scenario.

What to do?

I'm glad I didn't have to decide since I was safely esconced behind my camera, but give it some thought. What would you do? If you want to see more potential events like this and test your knowledge, go to the motorcycle safety foundation site and check out their Basic Rider Course Review. And if you haven't already (or recently) attend a motorcycle safety foundation course to learn what to do in situations like this, then maybe you should. Some spring ride, it might just save you from a really bad day.

By the way, I moved the limb and continued on my ride. What a great day. Beautiful weather, fantastic roads and the grace to ride again tomorrow.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Three Hour Route

This is a nice relaxing ride that won't stress your passenger too much. If you only have a half day, you can have breakfast, ride this route and be home in time to make lunch for the family.

It starts at SR-288 and FM-1462, just like the ride to Bellville and Fayetteville. And whenever I get near CR-42, I have to take it. It was an easy run today as I only scraped my pegs once on each side. On the way back you get to run it the other direction.

When CR-42 hits FM 1462, turn right and take those gentle sweepers until you get to SR-6. Run that straight piece until you see FM-442 on the left.

Now here is where it got interesting. Our intent was to take MackHawk Rd where you see the yellow highlight on the map above. BUT - it turns out that MackHawk would be much more fun on a dirt bike. Yup, the old paving machines haven't visited here yet. So we turned our big touring rigs around at that point, not willing to risk skint arms and legs, and even less willing to ride at the 10 mph that this road would require. Too bad though. MachHawk Rd is going to be awsome if they ever pave it. Grab your map and see for yourself. It is nothing if not twisty.

When we backed out of MackHawk, we dediced to run on down to Boling, and pick up FM-1301. That took us on into Pledger where we hit the 1301 hair pin back to the North and East into West Columbia. Just past West Columbia, we began looking for CR-25 to the left which took us into what looked like the South Louisiana marsh with all the houses built on stilts. Here near Mann Lake, we are 22 miles inland, but only 6 ft above sea level here, well inside the storm surge area for Rita and Katrina's cousins that we might expect to see this Fall. But for now, there are lakes-o-plenty here. Too bad you'll only see a couple because of the trees and dikes.

We found a few good turns on the way back to FM-1462 and ran CR-42 backwards (North and East) when we got there. When we found ourselves at FM-521 again, we turned North to CR-56 which is such a small road that one of our group ran right past it before realizing that he passed it. Cr-56 took us back to SR-288 and home.

This is a pleasant half day route that you can take your tilt meter on without fear of getting slapped in the helmet. When you have a day as nice as today is, it's hard not to enjoy whatever road you are on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Searching for a two hour route

I spent part of today looking for a quick trip that will renew the soul without taking all day. You can always take just a portion of a regular route, but I hope to develop a ride that will be both memorable and something to look forward to when time is short.

The route I tried today fit the time parameter, but that is about all. I'll try again in a few days, so stay tuned.

In the mean time, these Texas longhorns live at Georges Ranch Historical Park on FM-762 Near Rosenberg. Interesting place. The house you see in the background is the old "Home Place." It's on the ride to Newmans Bakery and Fayetteville.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Alvin to Bellville and Fayetteville

This is a great day ride from most anywhere near Houston. Start at FM1462 headed west from SR-288. You'll get a couple of sweepers within the first two miles and in just a couple more miles, you'll be scraping your pegs on CR-42. The fun doesn't stop there either.

Be sure to stop at Newman's bakery in Bellville and have lunch at either Round Top or Fayetteville.

The ride back from Fayetteville is more direct than the ride up, but there are still some fun turns in that section too.

Turn by Turn directions courtesy of Spongebob
FM 1462 west 2.2 mi to FM 521.
Turn right onto FM 521.
FM 521 1.8 mi to County Road 42
Turn Left on CR 42 at Sandy Point Baptist Church 8 mi to FM 1462.
Turn right on 1462.
Take 1462 4.5 mi to FM 762. Turn right.
FM 762 35.5 mi to 90a, turn left.
90a 3.5 mi to FM 359, turn right.
FM 359 8.2 mi to Winner Foster Rd aka "the road between the white picket fence". Turn left right after seeing signs for GATE 1 and GATE 2 by the wooden fence on the right.
Turn Left on Winner Foster Rd 4.2 mi to Bois D Arc Ln.
Turn Right on Bois D Arc Ln 3.5 m
i to FM 359/1093.
Turn left on 359/1093 and go to intersection in Fulshear. At the light in Fulshear you will need to turn left at the light, which is 1093 continued.
Take FM 1093 to Simonton. Turning right on FM 1489. Take 1489 into Brookshire.
Turn right on 90a and turn left onto FM 359.
Take FM 359 to Pattison. Go straight on FM 1458. (This is what we call "Racer Road".)
Take Racer Road to FM 3318. Turn Right.
Take this road until you see a sign showing a Dead End. Turn right and go across bridge Mt. Zion Rd.
Take Mt. Zion Rd. to Sunny Side Rd. Turn left. Take Sunny Side Rd. thru the left curve, then a right curve. You will come to a T. Turn left and then take curve to the right and ride to FM 529.
At FM 529 turn left. Take FM 529 to Bellville. At FM 159 turn left. Go across Rail Road Tracks.
Newman's Bakery is on the right. Take a break and eat something fattening.

Take FM 159 thru town, go around Bank and continue on FM 159/Hwy 36.
Take a left onto FM 159 just across the street from the Shell Station. Stay on FM 159 thru Industry, Tx.
Just outside Industry you will turn right onto FM 1457. This will take you to Round Top.
When you get to Round Top, you will need to make right turn at the Town Square. At the intersection past Royer's Round Top Cafe (good for lunch if you're hungry), turn left onto FM 237. Take FM 237 to FM 159. Turn left. There will be a sign for the Cedar Creek Reservoir / Fayetteville.
FM 159 will take you to the town square.

For return trip, turn left on FM 159, go a short distance and look for Phone Company building on the right. Look for FM 1291 sign. Go right. Stay on this road to Frelsburg. Go straight across intersection, road changes to FM 109.
Take FM 109 to New Ulm. Turn right onto FM 1094. Take 1094 into Sealy. Turn right onto Hwy 36. Take to I-10. Take I-10 East to Houston or take Hwy 36 to Rosenberg. Take a left at the stop sign, staying on Hwy 36. Take a right onto Hwy 36. Take Hwy 36 to Hwy 59 North.
Hwy 59 North to FM 762, exit and turn left onto FM 762.
Take FM 762 to FM 1462, take a left and take to Hwy 288. Now go home cause your butt is tired. ENJOY!

Our Little Buddy

I admit that this pic has nothing to do with motorcycles or riding, but isn't it a nice shot of our little buddy?