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 Post subject: Thanksgiving Day: Red River Cruise
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Apr 12, 2009
Country: USA
State/Province: TX
City: Carrollton (dallas)
It just so happens that I had Thanksgiving to myself this year since I was so graciously scheduled to work the day before and after the holiday. My wife left town to visit family earlier this week and I was left at home. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy having some time to myself. Given the craziness of the past few months, Big Blue had been somewhat neglected (especially with the flat tire). So yesterday evening, I spent a good three or four hours catching up on all of the maintenance that had piled up. After changing the oil, adjusting the valves, adjusting the handlebars, lubing the chain, refinishing and reinstalling my driver backrest, and a few other odds and ends, Blue was looking mighty fine.

So today came and I woke up to a beautiful Thanksgiving day with sunny skies and a high temperature in the mid 70's. What ever was I to do with a day as nice as this one? :D

For several months I have been itching to try some rides here in North Texas. Of the 4,200 miles I have already put on the Rebel, almost all of them have been destination miles. Nothing fun. Nothing exciting. Today was the day for that to change. I found one ride online that looked particularly interesting and decided to give it a go.

The Red River Cruise
First off, for those of you who live in Texas or Oklahoma, please note that this title is somewhat deceiving since you never actually cross or even see the Red River. However, it does go pretty far north and the name is kind of catchy. :wink:

After a quick lunch, I pulled Big Blue out of the garage and spent several minutes looking her over and making sure everything was in place. Having done so much the night before, I wanted to make sure everything was put back in place and snugged/torqued back to spec. I fired the bike up and let it warmup a bit while I threw my jacket, helmet, and gloves on. The advantage of a day ride is no need to take any other gear. Aside from a few emergency items, I traveled light.

Blue warming up in the driveway.


The trip began by heading north from my home in Carrollton, TX. The directions I found suggested starting in Denton, TX, which was a short 25 mile jog up Interstate 35E. Upon arriving at the location in Denton, I stopped at a gas station to top off the tank before venturing out into the countryside. Having not traveled through this part of Texas before, I had no idea how "civilized" it may be and wanted to make sure I wasn't stranded without gas, especially since it was Thanksgiving and everything was closed.

The ride started by heading north out of Denton on FM 2164. It wound its way through the older downtown district before eventually fading into the rather flat, but nevertheless attractive, open country. The speeds eventually crept up to 60 MPH and after about 15 miles the roads began to loosen up a bit and twist and turn with the lay of the land.

Right before plunging into Lake Ray Roberts, FM 2164 humbly conceded into a T-intersection which turned me west on FM 455. I was really surprised by the enjoyable ride quality of this road in particular given its rather close proximity to the city. It was an excellent mix of rolling hills, gentle turns, and occasional straightaways. It was about this point that it started to feel like the city was truly behind me now.

A nice shot of FM 455 somewhere northwest of Denton, TX.



This went on for some time as FM 455 slowly worked its way west, inching ever closer to the north along the way. The holiday did a wonderful job keeping traffic to an almost nonexistent level. At this point in the trip, I have probably seen about ten cars since leaving Denton. After about 50 miles, FM 455 made a jagged cut through Forestburg, TX. I wish I could come up with something exciting to say about this town, but I can't.

In Forestburg, I gave up on FM 455's westward journey and took off north on FM 677. I would venture a guess that if I had a topographical map of the area, this leg would have marked the beginning of my "ascent." Slowly but surely my course was taking me higher in elevation. It wasn't terribly noticeable at the time, but happened nonetheless. FM 677 was a very nice and relaxing road that soon dumped me into Saint Jo, TX. I believe the appropriate word for this little town was "cute." It was old, small, and filled with character. There was a little downtown square with a gazebo and several old-fashioned shops on every side. Pretty much exactly what you would have expected to find (except for Forestburg, it was just boring).

Good luck Kate (whoever you are) at state (in whatever you do)!



The writer of the route I found online mentioned the stretch north of Saint Jo would be nice. Boy was that an understatement! What came next was some of the most beautiful country I have seen in Texas. Having risen in elevation all the way from Forestburg, I here began my descent as I continued toward the Red River and the Oklahoma border. It was a wonderful concoction of twisties, gentle turns, and breathtaking views from either side as I cut my way into the Red River valley. To make things even better, the fall weather created the most amazing display of colors in the foliage of the trees around. I really wish I had some good pictures of this leg of the trip, but I was so caught up in the experience I completely forgot to stop. Also, given the insane amounts of curves and the total lack of shoulder to the road, it would have been ever so tricky to do so safely. Sorry.

Just before the Red River and the Oklahoma border, I caught Highway 373 to pull me back to the southeast. This marked the beginning of the part of the trip I was looking forward to the most. Up in this remote stretch of North Texas is a huge wind farm. I never knew that before, but it was truly a remarkable sight. For the next 25 miles I wound my way through a seemingly endless field of wind turbines, which dotted the landscape in all directions defiantly challenging the natural skyline. Much like the previous stretch of road, Highway 373 cut through the land like a scalpel in the hands of a skilled surgeon. The wonderful combination of rolling hills, thriving forests, and wind turbines created an experience really unlike anything else.

A nice shot of Big Blue on Highway 373.


The wind turbines begin.


And then there were more.


And even more (these aren't repeats, I promise).



Just the wind turbines fading into the distance. This went on for miles.



It is hard to describe the feeling of riding through that stretch of highway. It was, without a doubt, the most exciting and enjoyable experience I have had in my short motorcycling time. I really wish it could have just gone on forever. But alas, it did not. Eventually everything returned to the way it was before. After a little while, Highway 373 brought me to the town of Munster, TX where I jumped on Highway 82, which marked the end of my scenic journey and the beginning of the uneventful ride home.

Out of curiosity, I took Highway 82 all the way to Whitesboro, TX before heading back to Denton on Highway 377. In retrospect, this was a mistake as it was just as boring as the freeway would have been and only took more time in the end. However, time on the bike is time and the bike and I was happy to be out and about. I eventually hooked back up with Interstate 35E and followed it back to the exit for my house. I stopped at the gas station to do a final fillup and tally up the totals for the day.

Quick snapshot of the total mileage so I wouldn't forget. Always good to be home.


Total Time Elapsed: 4 hours, 38 minutes
Total Distance: 212.4 miles
Total Fuel: 3.239 gallons
Average Fuel Economy: 65.6 MPG

All in all, I think this was a great first ride. I really wish I could have taken better pictures, but my wife took the camera with her so I was stuck with my phone. For those of you here in the DFW area, we should really try this as a group sometime.

Blessings,

Hewitt

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Feb 23, 2009
Motorcycle: Rebel 250 plus a few others
Rebel: 250
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Looks like a great time.. Wish I was there.. :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Apr 12, 2009
Country: USA
State/Province: TX
City: Carrollton (dallas)
It was a great ride, but it would have been even better with others. Now my next step it to get all the others here in DFW out there too. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:49 pm 
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Motorcycle: Honda Shadow ACE (2003)
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Country: USA
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Enjoyed the pics--thanks :0) I love seeing the other parts of the U.S. from you guys. Looks like it was a great day for a ride!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Apr 12, 2009
Country: USA
State/Province: TX
City: Carrollton (dallas)
I sent a buddy from work this link and I believe it has now inspired him to get at least one ride in before the colder stuff sets in. Hopefully, we will be able to sneak out sometime in the next week or so.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Jun 29, 2009
Very nice. Leaf in the wind man...


Hewitt in texas tells us a friend is motivated now to get another ride in before the cold stuff sets in. Very good.

'twas 16 degrees the other morning when I biked to work. I am pretty sure that were the road clear of ice, I would try the ride down to maybe 10 below.

Not really sure. It starts to get pretty bad under 20 even with heated gloves.

So I am just guessing on how cold I could go.

What a strange obsession.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:56 am 
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Motorcycle: 2009 Honda Rebel 250
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: TX
City: Dallas
Looks like a nice ride. I'm off work tomorrow, and the weather is supposed to be nice. I might take a ride up that way.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:20 am 
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Joined: Apr 12, 2009
Country: USA
State/Province: TX
City: Carrollton (dallas)
Fridgitator wrote:
Looks like a nice ride. I'm off work tomorrow, and the weather is supposed to be nice. I might take a ride up that way.


If you do head out this way Fridge, I would really recommend just taking 35E back when you cross at Gainsville or double back through the FM road system. Going all the way to Whitesboro was a mistake looking back. I think I am going to try and concoct a return path that winds through another set of farm to market roads in the future.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:17 am 
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Great pictures!


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving Day: Red River Cruise
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:01 am 
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Joined: Aug 29, 2011
Rebel: 450
Country: Australia
Nice to be here..I'm a newbie here.

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