Night before... ready to ride my Salsa El Mariachi with Salsa frame pack and Topeak seatpost trunk rack/bag. More than I need, but testing out for future use.
Sun's up good, but some parts of the Chaparral Trail have pretty dense growth that keeps it well shaded.
Approximately half way between Farmersville and Celeste, about 6 miles in...
Between Farmersville and Celeste on the Chaparral Trail
The first of the unimproved railroad bridges at about 12 miles in on the Chaparral Trail - notice the "dog stick" protruding from my frame bag... never needed it!
Looking back the way I came on the Chaparral Trail
This was much more interesting live and in person... camera doesn't do a good job of capturing the early morning sun not quite breaking through!
Celeste schools are Exemplary!... and 14 miles in on the Chaparral Trail. About a mile of the trail was asphalt through here. The asphalt was poorly done and has some really large tire eating cracks... CAUTION!
Noted the gas/convenience store in Celeste for future reference... the Code Red Mt. Dew was divine on the return as the temps hit upper 90's!
Another gratuitous shot of the El M in the filtered morning sun just over 18 miles from Farmersville.
The rail ties weren't the only thing to negotiate on the bridges! Note the heavy vegitation at what looks like the end of this bridge... NOT THE END!
There are plenty of places where the rail bed is nice and smooth and can allow a rider to crank it up... but be careful not to look around too much while crusing... I saw this too late to get fully stopped and it almost seperated me and my Salsa!
Entering Pecan Gap where the trail has become quite sketchy... 38 miles from Farmersville
Just beyond Pecan Gap, all maintenance to keep the trail established has ceased. Luckily this was only a short section... perhaps 1/2 mile at mile 39 from Farmersville.
Documenting the trip... this section can be easily avoided by riding a short section of road.
...and I DO recommend riding that short section of road. This was the worst stuff I navigated. You can't see all of the vines that really loved grabbing pedals and gears and legs...
And yes, that is the trail! I actually attempted to ride, then to push the bike, but resorted to carrying the bike! By the time I got here, the temps were well in the 90s and the air was quite still... suffocating!
Whose trail is it anyway? Several people I spoke with (all were quite friendly) said "That rail to trail project isn't complete yet". Still, I don't understand how a rail road right of way becomes private property!
The rail bed continues past the fenced area... This is about 2 miles outside of Pecan Gap, maybe 4 miles from Ben Franklin and 20+ miles short of Paris.
Adventure By Bike - Chaparral Trail
Oh well, time for lunch at the Delta Diner... soft flour tacos were GREAT! The folks were a bit curious about my adventure, but still quite friendly.
Just outside of Pecan Gap, TX
Trumpet vine compliments the Salsa!
This provides some perspective on the gaps between the ties on the trestle bridges... this one was about 30 feet above the creek bed.
On one of the taller trestle bridges, about 30 feet above the creek bed... you can see a little storm debris in the lower left.. some of those were 1 ft diameter tree trunks! The tree trunk across the water above the seat was big enough to walk across.
One of the longer bridges...
June grassy stuff... Texas sky! Salsa goes good with everything!
More Salsa, please!
Getting crossways on the bridges could be bad...
Also, often the rail bed did not match up well with the height of the bridges...
It doesn't end this way... FUN RIDE!
More time on what may someday be the Chaparral Trail. This group came from the section between Ben Franklin and Paris. Virtually none of this section has had any maintenance and there were numerous fences to negotiate. Most notable was the dense undergrowth, including sawbriars! On a sad note, one of the brick bridges in Roxton has begun to colapse and will like be impassible soon. This is the high bridge just across the North Sulfur River just NE of Ben Franklin. The trail started out of Ben Frankin as a decent double track, but was fenced (nothing to indicate the property was posted, so I let myself through the ulocked gate).
View from atop the rail bridge crossing the North Sulfur River just NE of Ben Franklin, TX
Looking back to the Northwest from the top of the rail bridge crossing the North Sulfur River just NE of Ben Franklin, TX
Most of the trestle bridges closer to Farmersville are still in pretty good shape, but the rail bridge crossing the North Sulfur River is beginning to show real signs of decay.
Boards placed on the rail bridge over the North Sulfur River NE of Ben Franklin, TX... likely to allow the passage of 4 wheelers on this section of the trail that is fenced.
Looking NW from the North side of the rail bridge crossing the North Sulfur River NE of Ben Franklin, TX
Looking Southeast from the North side of the rail bridge crossing the North Sulfur River just NE of Ben Franklin, TX
I enjoy Salsa with everything!
North Delta/South Lamar County agriculture is the norm...
The trail surface on the section between Ben Franklin and Paris was often loose gravel bed... not unlike peddling through sand, only with rocks! The trail was also pretty overgrown from years of neglect. I am told this neglect is support for many of the property-owners' claims to the land.
The next few photos are of one of the rail bridges that was a significant brick structure near Roxton, TX. This particular bridge has partially collapsed from lack of maintenance. I expect that the next few rain seasons will make it completely unpassable, as only about 1/3-1/2 of the path across is open. A good photo series of before and after can be founda at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgseBSCksn8
It was ominous seeing the large parts of this once magnificent structure tumbled into ruin in the creek bottom... I am told that this bridge actually acted as a governor for the floodwaters during storms that protected properties downstream... when it broke, significant damage was seen as there was no longer any check on the built-up water...
More damage on the Roxton bridge...
Roxton bridge is almost gone... this will cause big problems getting through this part of the NETexas Trail.
On the Paris side of the Roxton Bridge looking back toward Ben Franklin... only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the surface is left standing, but not likely for long.
Looking back at the damage of this cool bridge. It stood strong since it was erected back around 1890, but the power of the water that passes underneath has finally taken it's toll.
More time on what may someday be the Chaparral Trail. This group came from the section between Ben Franklin and Paris. Virtually none of this section has had any maintenance and there were numerous fences to negotiate. Most notable was the dense undergrowth, including sawbriars! On a sad note, one of the brick bridges in Roxton has begun to colapse and will like be impassible soon.
Between Roxton and Paris, it seems the trail surface and the bridge height are getting further apart!
This is one of the more open sections of trail in the sections between Ben Franklin and Paris...
Ride to Roxton - 8-10-2012
Caddo National Grasslands - Ladonia Unit Hunter Campsite