I had aimed to get up first thing this morning and head out, but I’ve been behind pretty much all week so that wasn’t going to happen. My somewhat unexpected Navy Reserve work on Saturday and Sunday really set me back too. I stayed up pretty late last night getting ready, but I went to bed with only a pile of supplies and nothing truly packed. Morning came and went and I was still getting ready. About lunch time, I got everything loaded on the bike, and realized a) the right side cover was touching the muffler because the right side bag was bulging through its supports and b) the weight of all my gear on the back of the bike, coupled with the fact that the bike was lowered while retaining a stock kick stand meant that the bike would barely keep from falling over on level ground. With these two realizations in mind, I decided to raise the rear suspension up to its stock setting (about 1.5” higher) and make a plywood backer board for the right side bag to keep it from pushing the side cover into the muffler and melting. Pulling both of those off took several hours. Then as it became clear that I wasn’t going to make it to my previously set stopping point in central Louisiana, I decided to try to find a closer place to stop. My dad was trying to get me to just stay and leave another day, but I wanted to make some progress, and a check of the weather showed that DFW was under a thunderstorm/flood warning from Thursday morning until Friday afternoon, which would have delayed me even more. So I decided I would head for east Texas tonight and make some progress, although minimal. There were ominous clouds around my Dad’s house as I left, but the radar showed only a small storm cell. However, about 10 minutes after leaving the house I found myself in a fairly heavy rain. Eventually I was able to stop under an overpass and put my rain gear on, but not before getting fairly wet. Of course, after I put the rain gear on, it never really rained again. I kept going southeast, taking a few calls on my Sena SMH10 bluetooth helmet add-on along the way. People seemed to be able to hear me fairly well, but the wind noise was so loud in my helmet I felt like I almost had to yell at them. If I wasn’t on the highway, things were obviously better. It was somewhere about 10pm when I made it to Athens, TX and was thinking of just quitting for the night, but my dad said I should just stop and eat and see how I felt. I ran across a local diner with a chicken friend steak, mashed potato, texas toast, apple pie and salad special for $7 so I had that. I love little hole in the wall places like that. I pressed on to Jacksonville, where Dad had scouted a campground that was closer than my original plan. He first guided me via phone to the west side of Lake Jacksonville, then realized he read the map wrong and redirected me back the highway and over to the east side. I finally found the campground he was talking about when a cop stopped me and said the campground was locked and that you had to have paid during the day in town. After telling me there were no public campgrounds in town, I decided to push on. Eventually I made it to my original destination, a campground at some bluff overlook in the Davy Crockett National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/texas/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=30226&actid=34). I turned off the highway and went down about a mile or two of dirt roads. I found a clearing that I figured must be the camping area, unloaded my bike, set up tent, and now I’m here writing this. It’s pretty hot and humid in my tent, but its 2 AM so I might just be tired enough to go to sleep anyways. Tomorrow will be a long day. I have a lot of ground to cover if I’m going to stay with my plan of getting to Florida by Friday morning, but we’ll see how the day goes. It feels kind of weird to be camping by myself at this very remote place. I’m in the woods, at least a mile from the road, and even that road while paved is a country road with not much signs of life. Hopefully I survive the night and my bike starts in the morning.
0 thoughts on “16JUL2014”
I like the part about feeling so remote your first night out in the middle of nowhere. I remember having that exact thought on my first night of my trip.