Saturday was overcast and in the 60s here in north central TexSux, so it seemed the perfect time to go for a ride. I waited until afternoon to get rolling, so choices were limited as it takes an hour+ to get to most good roads from Dallas. I pondered the map and decided on a route that somebody in my club had led a weekend ride on that I had been unable to attend. And as usual I was so eager to get out that I forgot to bring a camera. One of these days I'll keep my online friends in mind when I go ride...
The route plan called for I-20 east to Forney, pick up Farm Road 1641 there and follow that to Farm 987 (Farm, Ranch, and Farm to Market ('FM') roads, for the uninitiated, are a smaller class of state highway here in TX). Due to the part of town I left from 20 was a very long-cut, so I headed out on US 80 which joins 20 just a wee bit past 1641. As I zipped down 80 I saw some Beemerfolk going the other way, back toward Dallas. Waves of course and I recognised one bike as a fellow Lone Star BMW Riders member (can't miss him- K1200RS repainted BRIGHT pearl-metallic orange, looks like a big Sunkist!). I think the other one in hindsight was the /7RT that belongs to the guy who came up with the TX 254 but I'm not sure. I remembered then that most of the club guys tend to do morning rides so they may have been coming back from the route I was exploring.
80 Had an exit for 1641 but no dice- it was closed from both directions due to some repaving being done on 1641. But when I tried the exit from the other way, I found a detour. The detour got me to 1641, through Talty and on to 987 which led to Kaufman. Nice little town, kids on swings waved to me and I liked the little jog that 987 took through the nice old-fashioned small town main street. Passed a bunch of GoldWings loaded with geriatric couples going the other way there.
From kaufman I took Farm 243 east to Canton. This is a nice if mostly straight stretch of twenty-something miles through mostly pretty countryside with homesteads along it. Thankfully plenty of passing zones too.
Canton I can't say much about because I only passed through a corner of it. But the town is famous for having a monthly Trade Days that draws folks from far and wide. I've heard you can buy sell or barter damn near anything there. I left Canton on TX 19 south, which was uneventful, then turned onto Farm 2909 east to Martins Mill. The highway entered a residential neighbourhood and took a 90-degree turn that seemed abrupt but was no trouble, as the house dead ahead provided plenty of warning (not so on the return leg when I made what was almost a panic-turn when there was no house ahead and barely saw the sign). Not much to Martins Mill.
Out of MM on Farm 858 toward Ben Wheeler. Somewhere along 858 I fell in behind a couple on a H-D who were having a leisurely cruise. No hurry, so I stayed back but then passed when they pulled over for her to put on a jacket right at the apex of another town corner in Ben Wheeler. Geez pick a safer spot.
Out of Ben Wheeler on Farm 279 to Edom. 279 Has some nice twisty spots with small rolling hills and even a few trees! Okay so they weren't the first trees along the ride but they were the first that I noted the scenic impact of. Very nice little road!
I arrived in Edom and noticed that my fuel was low. Good thing I needed to stop as I was looking for an excuse to stretch my back- I'm ordinarily a pretty hardy rider but the week before I spent much time driving my mom around Florida in a minivan with a really $h!tty seat that left my back in pain that has been lingering for a while. I'm too young for that!
Edom itself is a very small town but has an intersection that has several charming businesses around it, including a cafe and a gift shop. I might have stopped for a bite to eat if I hadn't been a tad broke (still unemployed). I pulled into a gas station and did the usual ritual of wiping the bugs from my faceshield as the tank filled. As I was beginning to put my gear back on a group of five saddlebagged Harleys went by, going in the direction of my return route. I gave them a wave and made a note to try to catch up with them.
Leaving the fuel stop I took it easy through town, waving to a HD guy parked under the awning of an abandoned gas station then let it rip once outside town. It didn't take long to catch up with the Hoggers, especially since I ride the world's most bitchin' stock Airhead!
I follwed those guys through a few turns but got really frustrated by how slowly they took them. I'm not saying everybody has to ride it like they stole it, but PLEEEASE.... So once a straight opened up I downshifted and punched by like a shot and neatly tucked into the middle of them. Hung there there through some more turns then punched it again and left them behind with a wave over the head and disappeared up and over the next rise like Aces High. Once they crested the hill I showed them how it's done as I tore away through the turns.
The rest of the ride back was fairly uneventful. I remember somewhere seeing a cow standing in the doorway of a slouching abandoned farm shed, and something about the look on the cow's face seemed rather comical (I *really* should remember the camera next time...). I missed a turn somewhere but no matter, by that time I was running parallel to I-20 and us 80 so when I came to a T intersection I went north and was treated to lumpy fallow meadows illuminated by a mist-covered moon (the sun had set by now). The whole scene reminded me of the mysterious English moors I've read about but have yet to actually visit. I hope they're at least that cool.
Soon I was back on US 80 pointed toward Dallas again. I've been through this stretch many times as it is the way back into town from both trips east to my hometown and from many biz trips I've taken. There is one spot that has a big row of antique shops along it. One shop has an ancient MiG 17 (yes I know how to tell the difference between a 15 and a 17) parked out front and whenever I see it in the dark, backlit by the lights on the front of the shop I imagine seeing a pilot's head inside and nav lights on and the sound of jet noise. I imagine for a second what it must have been like just before night patrol way back in the early days of the cold war, the MiG standing by ready to taxi and go.
After that is was just the same old urban cruise as 80 joined I-30 and wound past the sparkly lights of downtown Big D. Reunion Tower was right in the middle fo its regular half-hourly light show and traffic was surprisingly light as I twisted my way through the elevated freeways past the close windows of the old-factories-turned-new-urban-lofts. Home in five more miles and whaddya know, my usual parking space is even free! It was a good ride indeed!