Huntsville - Camping and Cemeteries
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Friday & Saturday, April 22-23 2005


(Click the map to enlarge it.)

bulletRide Length: 230 miles
bulletRiders: Josh and me
bulletWeather: Perfect.. 70 in the evening, 55 or 60 in the morning. Sprinkled on once.

(You can click any picture below to enlarge it.)

Ring... Ring...

"Yo!" It was Josh. 

"What up?"  It was me.

Apparently Angie, Josh's wife, has a shower or party or some event to go to and Josh is not going.  He wanted to know what I was up to.

"Chillin'"

He tells me he is thinking about going to Huntsville, TX to the National Forest to go camping.  His parents have a 5th-wheel trailer, and they are staying out there... though, he is taking his tent, he explains.

"Let me ask my wife... I'll call you back."

My wife's father's 60th birthday party is on Saturday, so I need to be home by then.  Actually, this is the reason I was unable to go on the Chain Gang Charity Ride.  My wife says that I can go.

"OK, I'm packing... I'll meet you at Beltway 8 and I-10."

Josh and I met at 8:00PM and quickly found a Quizno's and had a little something to eat.  We got under way after filling up both motorcycles with gas and headed north. 

Josh knew some back roads, so if you are interested, this is the route we took:  E on I-10, Beltway 8, N on Crosby-Huffman Road which is actually 2100, N on 1010 into Cleveland, TX, then N on 2025.  From there we took 945 to 150 and headed west.  We crossed over I-45 and then continued west on 1375 and shortly after that we ended up at the Cagle Recreation Area in the Sam Houston National Forest.

We ended up finding Josh's parents around 10:30.  The ride there was 110 miles in absolutely perfect weather.  We did hit one little patch of light rain, but it passed quickly. 

This was the first real test for both Flash's sealed battery and my PIAAs.  It was extremely dark riding through the National Forest, and the headlight on Josh's KLR... well... let's just say it is not all that bright.  I hopped in the lead and fired up the PIAAs on full blast for several miles.  Absolutely perfect.  The lights were amazing and the battery performed flawlessly.  The voltage indicator LED stayed green the entire time and it was as bright as the sun being out with my high-beam PIAA bulb and the auxiliary PIAA 510 driving lights.  Very very nice... and SAFE!

We proceeded to unload the motorcycles and set up our tents before we retired to the lawn chairs in front of the fire.  If you want to know EXACTLY where we were, here you go: (N30 31.247 W95 35.442):
 

After the sleeping bags were unrolled, and we were all comfortably sitting by the fire, my cellular phone rang.  It was "Bill No. 391 Las Vegas."  Bill is a 77 (maybe 78 now) year-old gentleman I met at the Jailbreak in Mena, Arkansas last year.  Bill commented on F650.com forums that he would be making a "Four Corners Tour."  Reading this, I offered to put Bill up for the night when he drove through Houston.  Bill had phoned to say he was running a bit behind schedule and would not be in Houston on Sunday, but he would call me in the next day or so to give me an update on his schedule and let me know when I could expect him.  (Be Safe Bill!).

I crawled into my tent around midnight, put in my ear plugs and climbed into my sleeping bag.  My head found rest in the old pillow my wife said I could take with me.  Needless to say, this pillow was not the same pillow my head finds rest on most evenings.  Stained and smelly, it was better than nothing.

I awoke around 7:00AM Saturday morning.  Having the earplugs in all night, I was not prepared for what had crept into our campsite during the night.  Standing formidable in the gravel patch across from our tents, it stood in defiance looking squarely at us with scorn in it's eyes: 

Josh started to approach it, but the danger became clear as he neared the creature.  We decided that ATGATT would offer Josh the protection he needed to address the situation. 

It was a horrific battle, but in the end, Josh was able to overcome the odds and prevail over the beast:

After the battle, we were treated to a breakfast of champions prepared by Josh's mom:
 

After the fantastic meal, we loaded up our gear and prepared for the ride home.

We basically took the same route upon which we had come since it was dark when we drove up.

We found a few dirt roads and did some exploring:
 

The first interesting place we visited was Purkerson Cemetery (N30 25.921 W95 09.422).  Set back a ways from the road, it was interesting to see.  I didn't count the number of graves at the location, but I would imagine there were only 20 or 30 there:
 

I did find it shameful that someone found it necessary to shoot at the balls on the top of the fence corner posts. 

We continued on our journey looking for more off-the-beaten path places to explore, and we found it in this little store:

We stopped and had a Coca Cola while sitting on the concrete parking area out in front.

As our journey continued, we saw a sign for Cemetery Road.  We figured we might as well have a look at this one since we had just visited one earlier.  The sign out front said Wells Cemetery Association (N30 18.724 W95 05.573).  It is located near Cleveland, TX: 

The grave markers were the most interesting part of this particular cemetery.  It appeared that many of them were made by either the families of the people who died, or maybe by the church, but not "professionally-made" stones. 

Given literacy rates in the early 1900's, it is even more interesting to note the direction of the "J" in "July" in the first picture below. 

Another interesting, though sad observation, was the age of many of the people who died.  We found many people who lived from the early 1800's into the early 1900's, but unfortunately we saw many graves of children:
 

You have to wonder what kind of life these families lived.  It's sad to think of life where you lose your child to an illness that in today's world could probably be cured with an inoculation or pill, and you're faced with the task of making the child's tombstone...

... definitely not a thought I want to spend a lot of time thinking about.

Josh and I continued south and split at the intersection of highways 90 and 2100.  He headed back to Pasadena, and I continued into downtown Houston. 

I was in the door of my house at 1:00PM on Saturday and made it to my father-in-law's birthday celebration with time to spare.

Miles on Saturday = 120.

Thanks for coming along on our ride.

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