A total of 18 riders showed up at Bucee’s in Waller TX for the first South East Texas Adventure Riders Association Ride. After a meet/greet and a brief riders meeting we set out around 8am. The morning was foggy and cool but the fog eventually burned off and made way for some good riding.
3 groups were formed from adventure bike riders, dualsport riders and some fresh faces to dualsport riding. With groups made, we were soon heading down the road from Bucee’s. This section was challenging because of the early morning fog but onward we pushed! Finally got to dirt roads and caught up with the adventure bike riders who were airing down tires for better traction. This early part of the ride should have been one of the more scenic but because of the fog, the bluebonnets were not in full view.
We motored on to the first stop which was planned at SHNF East Side Multiuse Trailhead. There we took a short break and talked a bit. There were other riders at the trailhead getting ready to ride the trails. Some of the bikes were well suited for the trails and eye candy for the rest of us. The riders in this group suited back up and off we went!
The forest roads proved to be a lot of fun. The roads were well used, a little dusty, but fun never the less. Dogwood trees were in full bloom, some azaleas in the far-off distance were trying to poke through the forest floor. About 2 months ago there was a controlled burn that cleared out most of the underbrush, but the forest has ways to recover by letting young ferns grow from the ashes. These ferns were everywhere and made the forest floor look green and fresh!
We pushed on through SHNF sharing the roads with an army of bicyclists. These folks were a hearty bunch, as they were riding bikes on the forest service roads with their small skinny tires! Watching some of them, smiling and heads shaking from no suspension, you could tell they were having a blast; but so were we, maybe too much! While sharing the road with the bicyclists we came to our next turn which some of our bicycle counterparts were not riding on. This road turned out to be a disaster!
As we turned onto FS209 from FM1791 there was an off camber left turn, meaning down and away, with some loose gravel. Approximately the third rider back went down after his front tire washed out. From my point of view all I could see was a big cloud of dust! The fourth rider back was in the process of getting the bike off the downed rider as the rest of us were getting there. By the time we were getting our helmets off, I heard one of the other riders calling 911 and I knew we had a serious problem; sure enough a broken leg!! We made the rider as comfortable as possible until the ambulance came. The injured rider was in good spirits and apologizing for ruining everyone else’s day! We told him not to worry that all would be ok.
The ambulance came along with the fire department and 10 tow trucks. DPS showed up to get reports from us and any other information they needed. I am not certain who had the AAA service but that was a nice piece of work getting in contact with them and coordinating the pickup of the bike. The rider was secured and loaded into the ambulance then off to the hospital still apologizing for messing up everyone’s day! This guy is one tough dude and no one will take his man card away!! The adventure bike rider group showed up and stopped to ask what had happened. We told them and that everything was under control. Although concerned with their fellow rider, they to elected to push on.
After all the emergency responders left we were pondering on what to do next. MOTEX and his family came well prepared and graciously said they would stay with the bike until AAA showed up. As group leader that was a hard decision to make! MOTEX and his family insisted that we carry on and they would be ok finding their way back to Bucee’s. With some reservations, I made the decision to motor on with the other 2 riders remaining, that made three of us left to complete the ride.
Myself and the two others, LeloTx and F350, pushed on and made good time by passing the first fuel stop. We all three had over sized tanks and did not need fuel at this point of the ride. North of Hwy 30 are a bunch of dirt roads that are fun to ride plus a lot of beautiful scenery around. Fields of bluebonnets, pastures and cattle plus old farms completed the scene. We soon made our way to Scales Ranch Road, which in the past has been very sandy. This particular day it was not bad, but you could tell the adventure bikes had come through before us and were using their traction control very effectively! Roosting our way through the sand and onto the straight portion of Scales Ranch Road we made it to Bedias TX for a lunch break and gas. We successfully made it to the little café in Bedias before they closed at 2:00. It was well worth the effort, because the burger and fries were excellent! The “Pit Stop Café” is a good place to eat and the owners are good people! During lunch, we caught up with the other 2 groups and chatted mainly about the injured rider. Tourmeister and Woodsguy joined up earlier in the ride and we had a chance to meet them.
After lunch and gassing up we three amigos’ (jdsmetx, LeloTX and F350) headed out for the second half of the ride. We all three felt like we could take a siesta after lunch but decided to push on. South and a little west of Bedias were more dirt roads that were loads of fun. Earlier in the week the road graders had come through to smooth out the roads which made the corners fun to ride through. Pitching it sideways and sliding the corners is a thrill for me and I enjoyed it very much. A quick stop to check on everyone and to change batteries in the GPS we moved on and made it back to Hwy 30 near College Station.
Gibbons Creek Lignite Mine area has long since been dug up and the land reclaimed to land owners but some of the mining roads are still there. For me personally this is one of the enjoyable parts of the route. It is a nice long straight road where one can open the throttle all the way! This area is an open prairie area not common for East Texas and is a sight to see. After the long road section, you come into more twisty sections and old oil fields. These oil fields still have equipment on them from the past and some are still being used but most have been abandoned. Off in the distance there were signs of oil field activity, drilling/work over rigs reviving old fields! Let’s hope so!
Still seeing signs of our adventure bike group flexing their muscle on the roads we soon came upon them stopped in the road. Turns out one of them had slid in a corner and went down. Luckily, no one was hurt and repairs to a bent gear shifter was the only casualty. After talking with them and making sure all was ok, my group, the Three Amigo’s continued getting closer to Navasota. It was getting later in the day and all of us were starting to wear down. We stopped at a convenience store in Navasota where I got gas and soft drink. My two compadres headed in to cool down and to take a break. We also met up with the first group and chatted with them for a while. Soon after the adventure bike group showed up and we chatted with them too. Here many riders decided it was time to head home. A few of us banded together and decided to complete the rest of the ride but modify the route a little while heading back to Bucee’s in Waller TX.
With our newly formed group we headed out making the last leg of our ride a smooth and relaxing one, so we thought! Headed east on Hwy 105 from Navasota, we turned down the last little section of back roads. This section was going over railroads and riding through an area with fields and pastures filled with horses and beautiful homes. There are also dogs that like to run and chase you through this area too! I was in the second position and LeloTx was behind me. William Wolfen was in front and F350 bringing up the rear. Everyone saw the dogs and slowed down to make sure they were not going to dart out and chase us. All seemed to be going well and as we passed, out of the blue a big black dog, which I believe to be a pit bull, came from my left heading right for me! All I could think was down shift to a lower gear, slip the clutch a little and grab a hand full of throttle. Keeping that dog away from my front tire was my only hope. I felt the engine rev’s come up, the front tire come off the ground and suddenly felt a big “thud” at the rear of the bike! Out of the corner of my eye I saw the dog under the front of my rear tire, hitting my swingarm and my left leg swinging back. I managed to save it but in an instant I saw the dog spinning down the road, all four legs sprawled out and belly dragging the ground probably thinking “what did I just hit?” Well…. You sir, my friendly neighborhood dog, just ran into a Suzuki DR650 known as “Donkey” and he just kicked you in the head!! I stopped to check my bike, and myself, thanking God nothing was broken on either of us! All four us of laughed it off but in the back of our minds we knew this could have ended badly! After cleaning out my britches and catching my breath we motored on to Bucee’s. F350 peeled off at FM1488 to head home, we wished him safe travels and thanked him for the ride! The rest of us made it to Bucee’s, shook hands, and talked a little about the day’s events.
To conclude, I had a very enjoyable ride and I hope everyone else did as well. Except for the injured rider, whom we wish a speedy recovery, I look forward to riding with you all and coordinating more rides in the future.
Joe Siddens (jdsmetx)