by Trip Hilliard

On Thursday, September 8, 2005, Curt Jordan and I set out for a riding trip from Tyler, Texas to Mustang Island, Texas and back. When one plans a motorcycle trip, plan "B" must always be planned. On this trip, Plan B came in very handy...

Thursday, September 8, 2005:
I was to meet Curt at his house in Noonday, Texas around 10:00am that morning. For those that don't know where Noonday is, take Hwy. 155 South of Tyler for about 10 miles and when you come to the Chevron gas station, are in Noonday. Noonday is well known for its onions. That's not to say that Curt is an onion although sometimes I can verify that he is. LOL.

I arrived in Noonday at Curt's house around 10:15am. We left heading South on 155. Today's journey was to take us to Bastrop State Park, located just East of Bastrop, Texas, some 30 miles Southeast of Austin. Our route plan took us down 155 South from Tyler to Palestine, then we turned South on Hwy. 79. Once on 79, we headed Southwest until we came to Rockdale. Then, we headed due South on Hwy. 77 until we came to the town of Giddings. Then, we turned West on Hwy. 290, then South on 21 into Bastrop and Bastrop State Park.

On the way, we stopped for lunch at a Dairy Queen in Hearne. It appeared that we were traveling during that time of year where "Lovebugs" are very prevalent in central Texas. I've never seen so many little black bugs in my life. The locals told us that they come out two times a year. After eating lunch, we traveled on our planned route knowing that when we arrived in Bastrop, we were going to have to find a car wash.

We arrived at Bastrop State Park around 2:30pm and after checking in, we pitched camp. At about 5:30pm, we went into Bastrop, ate dinner, and found a car wash. All-in-all, the day's travels went well. We experienced good weather and the temperature was about 98 degrees.



Friday, September 9, 2005:
The next morning, we were up and packed for travel about 7:30am. After stopping for gas and breakfast, we were on the road at about 8:00am. Today we were traveling from Bastrop to Mustang Island. Since Mustang Island State Park doesn't take reservations, we decided we would leave early and arrive early to get a good camping spot on the beach. We traveled Southeast on Hwy. 71 until we hitched up with Hwy. 77 going South. Hwy. 77 took us through LaGrange, Schulenberg, Victoria, Refugio and Sinton. At Sinton, we headed South on 181 and 361 to get to Aransas Pass. By the time we arrived in Aransas Pass, the sky was dark and rain was falling. We ducked into a Subway and ate lunch and discussed the days ride.

Hopefully the rain would subside soon. In checking the forecast for the weekend before we left, it showed a 20 percent chance of rain...but, there was a tropical storm located in the Yucatan area of the Gulf that was supposed to stay put for the weekend. At least that's what was forecasted. Later we would find that was not the case.

After eating lunch, we put on our rain gear and headed to Port Aransas, our gateway to Mustang Island. To get to Port Aransas, one must take the ferry which was a great experience. I hadn't been on a ferry in quite a while.

Once we arrived in Port Aransas it was evident that the rain wasn't going away. We stopped at a hotel and asked if we could take refuge in the lobby. The attendant was nice and allowed us to stay there as long as we wanted. We watched the weather channel on the lobby TV and learned that the storm in the Yucatan had decided to head North. Rain was forecasted for Mustang Island for the rest of the weekend. Bummer!

After discussing our plight for a while, Curt and I decided to put Plan B into effect. Before we left on Thursday, it was decided that if rain moved in on us, we would ditch our Mustang Island plan and head to the Texas Hill Country and try to finish out our trip without rain. Plan B was a reality. We left the hotel at about 2:30pm, stopped at Mustang Island State Park for a moment, then continued on to the Hill Country by way of Corpus Christi and San Antonio. It took us 5 hours, but we made it. We arrived at Garner State Park near Leakey, Texas around 7:30pm, just in time to pitch camp before dark.

What started out as a planned 250 mile day turned into a 480 mile day. When my head hit the pillow that evening, I had no trouble getting to sleep.


Saturday, September 10, 2005:
We woke up to partly cloudy skies, but the sun was showing through at times and the forecast called for a clearing as the day went on. Today was designated as "play" day. We rode three of the best roads in Texas today...Ranch Road 336, then 335 and 337. We saved the best for last. Ranch Road 337 didn't disappoint me...never has. As the day went on, the skies cleared and made way for the sun. There is nothing like riding 337 in sunshine with plenty of gas in your tank.

But, all good things must come to an end. When Curt and I got back to our campsite, we noticed some dark heavy clouds trying to move in. After a quick check with NOAA on our CB radios, we found that a storm system was on it's way to the Leakey area from Hondo packing high winds, hail and 3-4 inches of rain. Our dodge of the rain hadn't come to an end just yet. Curt and I made a quick executive decision and decided to quickly get a room at the Rio Lodge in Leakey for the night rather than camp out in the pouring rain and leave for home wet the next morning.

So, we packed up camp and spent the night in Leakey.

Sunday, September 11, 2005:
Guess what the weather was doing Sunday morning? You guessed was RAINING! Curt and I left the Frio Lodge and went to the Shamrock station to gas up and get a quick cup of coffee before hitting the road. We knew we would ride most of the day home in the rain, so our rain gear went on without hesitation.

We decided that our route home should be up Hwy. 281 instead of I-35, since I-35 was under construction in places close to Waco. Our route for the day took us up Hwy. 83 out of Leakey to 41 and 290 into Fredricksburg. We continued on 290 to Johnson City, then turned North on 281. No trip would be complete if you can't stop and eat at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. The pie there is heavenly.

After eating lunch, we continued North on 281 until we reached Hamilton, then we turned East on Hwy. 22 through Whitney and into Hillsboro. From there, we continued on Hwy. 22 into Corsicana where we caught up with Hwy. 31 going East which eventually took us into Tyler. Just out of Chandler, Texas, Curt split off on Hwy. 2661 heading home and I continued on 31 into Tyler and rode around the Loop arriving in my driveway in Lindale at about 4:45pm.

It was a good travel day home. We left Leakey at 7:45am and arrived home around 4:45pm. All totalled, the trip was 1,450 miles and cost me around 200.00 dollars. Curt and I decided that we would try to ride to Mustang Island again someday. Hopefully when we return the Gods of Rain will be pestering someone else.

Leftover Pictures:









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