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Sunday, Feb 25, 2007

Remember this picture from late last year?


It’s the road to Sabine Pass.  It’s not much of a road anymore.  Last year’s hurricanes completely annihilated anything that resembled black top for the 20-mile stretch from High Island to Sabine Pass.  There was some asphalt left; it just happened to be in football-sized chunks.  The once-smooth road surface has been reduced to loose sand—often times deep.  Often times very deep.

When I took that picture in December, I really wanted to venture forth and see what remained after the storms.  After glancing at my watch and realizing it would have to be another day, I reluctantly turned the motorcycle around and headed home.

This ever-so-trivial event and that picture have been bugging me for two months.

I left around 10:00 am.  The plan was simple... explore that road.

My first stop was in Galveston when I saw what I thought would be a nice picture of an abandoned warehouse...


Then I found what appeared to be a train graveyard.  Look at these old passenger cars...

And in the midst of the trash and other debris, I found these brown pelicans basking quietly in the sun.  The one in the foreground was cleaning its feathers...

Taking the ferry from Galveston to Bolivar during the weekend is not advisable.  I had to sit and wait for about an hour.  Fortunately I had my iPod and a concrete barrier to rest my back against as I dozed off sitting on the oil-stained asphalt parking lot waiting my turn to board the ship.

The photo assignment over on is "clouds", so while relaxing on the ferry ride over to Bolivar, I tried to capture a photo worthy of submission.  There were hardly any clouds in the sky... this was the best I could get...

The seagulls have the ferry system figured out...

After disembarking from the ferry, I decided to pull over and capture the scenery since I was the very last vehicle to exit the ship.  I sat there for about ten minutes waiting for the line of cars on the two-lane road to get on their way... and out of mine.

And finally.  Finally I arrived the same spot where I had reluctantly turned around before.  This time I went straight... 

The football-sized chunks of asphalt were, for the most part, off to the side of the path in the beginning, and the road was packed nicely for the first mile or so. 

Once I traveled beyond where the surf-fishermen and seashell gatherers were able to access, the road simply vanished.  Occasionally there were some rocks, but for the most part, it was deep sand. 

Deep sand can be challenging.  Especially at slower speeds.  While it may seem counter-intuitive, the way to ride in sand is to simply stand up on the pegs and get on the throttle.  I was running about 35mph at first.  I'd get going along, and all of a sudden I would hit a deep section of sand, and the front wheel would begin its dance.

The only problem with opening up the throttle is that if I would have come off the bike, it could have been a very, very long time until someone found me.  But, I was sick of battling the sand, so I rolled on the gas.  Clipping along at about 55mph, I was much happier. 

For the next 15 miles the suspension welcomed the bouncing terrain and quick changes in direction as I avoided the chunks of broken road.

I even think I came up with a new definition of happiness when I realized I was running about 60mph up on the pegs with my iPod playing Lynch Mob's Wicked Sensation and singing so loud in my helmet that my throat hurt when the song was over.  Awesome!

At some point I found a hard-packed area to stop for a bio break.  I just love these pictures... Gulf of Mexico to the left, nothing at all to the right, and straight ahead... a fantastic road with no end in sight...

Another definition-of-the-day emerged as the challenging sand turned into asphalt again... anti-climatic.

After my Payday candy bar, a Twinkie and a 20-ounce coke, I decided the 20-mile detour to cross the border into Louisiana would be worth it to check off another state on my 50-state quest.

As I crossed the state border, my first thought was "WTF?"  No 'Welcome to Louisiana' sign?  WTF? 

After riding into the state for about 5 miles, I decided there was no 'Welcome' sign to be found, so I did the best I could...

My 100-mile ride home was completely uneventful, though I did find another cloud picture...

And that's that. 

Thanks for coming along...


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