East Texas Riding

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Chief Many Roads, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. Chief Many Roads

    Chief Many Roads n00b

    Dec 16, 2019
    East Texas (ET-450) Adventure Ride
    By Roger Barker

    Let me start off by stating I am not an experienced off-road rider. Although I learned to ride on dirt and gravel roads and did some riding in the desert and other places as a youth, it had been well over forty years since that time. So, this adventure was going to be something new to me and I had to learn as I went along. I checked the weather on Sunday and saw it looked great for the upcoming week and decided to load up my 2014 Kawasaki Versys 650 and my camping gear and head out on Monday morning. Below is an overview of the ET450. I will include links to the maps and GPX files I located on the internet.

    I arrived at Hanks Creek Campground on Lake Sam Rayburn on Monday. November 18, around noon. I scored big time on a beautiful camp site and set up camp before heading out on my first ADV ride.

    My goal was to ride as much of the East Texas 450 Ride. I located the ride on the ADV blog page. I ran a Google search and located a couple of sites that showed the map and links to GPX files for the ride.
    However, due the late afternoon start, I decided to explore some roads close to camp. I found a dirt road nor far away called Dead Man’s Road, somewhat ominous, but what the heck. The road was packed dirt with some areas of shallow sand. I continued to follow turns maintaining a north and west direction. After approximately 15 miles the road ran into the main highway. I began my return trip to camp, but saw a dirt road heading west and had an hour or so before sunset and rode to NF360 and followed it to it terminus near the lake. It was only a seven mile or so ride, but the forest was beautiful with fall colors and a nicely maintained dirt and sand surface made for a perfect evening ride.


    I arose the next morning full of excitement and after a hearty breakfast cooked over my camp stove, I mounted the Versys and headed out. I knew I would not be able to make the entire route in the time I had so I made my way down the highway and jumped on the end of the first section near Rockland. It was a 15 to 20-mile ride to the beginning of next section with nice dirt and light sand road through the National Forest.
    Beginning at section 2 the roads are a combination of asphalt, dirt and gravel. You ride across the Rayburn Lake dam. It is a beautiful ride which last several miles east and then I turned north on CR232, a dirt road taking me back into the forest. Several truck and ATVs were parked in different area that I assume were deer hunters. This stretch was in good condition, but did have stretches of loose sand, but no mud or water crossings. These are primarily NF roads which all went well for 30-35 miles until I discovered a large wash-out on NF-11 as I turned off of NF-144.


    I went back to NF-144 and followed it out to SH83. It was early afternoon by now so I headed back to the lake for some pictures and then back to camp for the day. I did not ride any of section 2-2 and decided to pick up section 3-2 the next day near Apple Springs. The roads here were again mostly packed dirt and sand. The scenery was awesome with tall pines and very little cut downs or clear cutting. I hit a few mud spots on the lower sections, but nothing too severe. I followed this section to the end and picked up section 1-1, what is actually the beginning of the ET450 in Moscow. The road from Moscow to Chester were very sandy and some shallow mud holes. The scenery at the start was not that great as the forest has been clear cut and you felt like you were on an oilfield road instead of a forest trail. The asphalt road, FM1745, from Chester to Colmesneil was very pleasant and to me, scenic.
    Once past Colmesneil you turn onto Recreational Road 225 and then north on CR3325, then the “fun: begins. CR3325, although good in some places, proved to be a challenge for a novice adventure rider like me. It contains stretches of very deep sand that are 2-3 feet deep with deep ruts for large 4x4 vehicle plowing their way through. Additionally, the road has numerous deep mud crossings that are deeply rutted. The ruts are 18” deep in places and I found these very difficult to maneuver through. I can personal attest to the depth of the water and mud, as evidenced from the following photos.


    Takeaway for the trip are is was a fun, but trying time. All in all, I calculate I only rode a third of the routes. Biggest lesson learned it not to ride this type of trip alone, especially for a novice, as it could have turned out to be a disaster. Depending on the pace and stops I think this could make a nice two, three or even four-day excursion for our ADV riders and they would find the ride both fun and challenging enough to keep their interest. There are several options for lodging. One could basecamp as I did, camp in campgrounds along the way or stay in motels in towns along the routes.

  2. san1k

    san1k Adventurer

    Jul 15, 2012
    Montgomery TX
    Awesome ride report. I rode it last year on my KLX250. I rode it three days after a major storm and I had some of the same issues. Water crossings, bridges out, and sliding all over the place.

    I was soaked by the time I got to the camp site. I plan to ride it again this year if you're interested. I'm in North Houston and pretty new to dual sport myself.
  3. old1959

    old1959 Been here awhile

    Dec 29, 2006
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Thanks for posting. Doesn't look like something I would want to do on my Super Tenere since it is a bit, make that a lot, on the heavy side.
  4. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Jun 19, 2010
    Killeen, TX.
    I rode that the first two years it was a somewhat organized event. Great times! Our overnight stays at the Rusk KOA was particularly fun. Love your images.
  5. johngault

    johngault Leaning into it Supporter

    Oct 15, 2008
    Nice trip report. It looks like an excellent area to ride. What are the typical weather/conditions like in February??
  6. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

    Sep 1, 2011
    In a word... perfect. We usually get a cold front that passes through about every 5 days. That day will be crappy, but the 4-ish days that follow it are usually dry and mild. It might dip into the upper 30s overnight, but the sun will warm things quickly and the highs are usually 55-70.

    Great moto-camping weather.

    If you snowbirds need a break, load the bike on a trailer, find a place to park it down here, and enjoy!
    johngault and MTBRALPH like this.