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Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 546 miles / 878.7 km
  • Ride Time: 3 days
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $41.50
  • States Visited: Texas, Louisiana
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SIX RIVERS TOURST ADVENTURESThe ST Brothers with a couple of Harley-Davidson motorcycles tour the Six Rivers in East TEXAS and Louisiana. The Southeast part of TEXAS is drained by four rivers, the Sabine, Angelina, Neches, and Trinity, they flow through the area covered by the forest timber belt and on through the Big Thicket area to the Gulf of Mexico. This general area has an average annual rainfall of from forty five to fifty inches. With the timbered area and the Big Thicket to retard runoff, these streams, in their lower reaches, maintain a fairly steady flow throughout the year. In Louisiana the Red and the Cane Rivers drain into the Mississippi. Our tour is mainly along the Cane River area and the Red River as far North as Grand Ecore. The Red River has its source in New Mexico very close to the Canadian River and flows in the general direction of South by seventy-seven degrees east along the Northern border of TEXAS. The Red continues into Arkansas, then South into Louisiana and into the Mississippi.I don't know of any 'Sport' that does not require some preparations. Some sports like Snow Skiing require days of preparations and Golf only a few hours. Our Sport does require some preparation but, that is part of the Sport. We do not enjoy the busy city streets and despise the crowded Interstates but, that is part of our preparations. Our title of 'Sport Tourer' is a very accurate description of our ultimate goal.The ST Brothers had planned this trip for the last year and we finally made it in April this year. The part of this Sport we can not control is the weather. It did not appear the weather would permit this trip with big storms predicted to pass through out planned route and big storms looming over the home garage. We headed out of the area early Friday and only experienced a few sprinkles. The storms caught up with us but, by Friday night we had found cover at the motel in Natchitoches, LA. The ST Brothers have teamed up with two Harley-Davidson cycles for this tour. The 2001 Screaming Eagle Road King garages on the bluff overlooking Village Creek and the 2003 V-Rod is garaged along Richland Creek near 'Little' brother ST1300.North of Richland Creek at Eureka, about fifteen miles west of the Trinity, we start our tour on US287. We experience a few sprinkles as we cross the Trinity near Cayuga, once a shipping port on the Trinity when it was navigable. Turning South on FM 645 to Tennessee Colony we are now on the real 'Texas Two Lanes'.At TX 294 and Long Lake we see more tall Pine trees and fewer Oaks and hardwoods; the fields are covered with Buttercups and a few Indian Paints. We pause at a few interesting sites along TX294 but, when you only carry three gallons of fuel in a Harley Davidson V-Rod, getting less than forty miles per gallon, we stop often. Our first fuel stop is on the Old Spanish Trail TX 21 at Alto, TEXAS.Alto was originally named Branchtown in 1850, renamed to Alto ('high') in 1852 since this is the highest point between the Angelina and Neches rivers. Because it was situated on the Old San Antonio Road, the settlement quickly developed into a commercial center and stopping point for travelers.TX 21 in Texas follows the El Camino Real or the Old Spanish Trail, the route was used when travelers east of the Mississippi were heading to San Antonio or on to Mexico. The original trail was blazed in 1691.Nacogdoches, Texas, the county seat of Nacogdoches County is 25 miles East of Alto on State highways 7, 21, 59 and 259, and 50 miles west of the Sabine River. It was named for the Nacogdoche Indians, a Caddo group. Archeological research has established that mounds found in the area date from approximately A.D. 1250, when the Indians built lodges along Lanana and Bonita creeks, which converge just south of Nacogdoches and continue as a single stream to the Angelina River.The riders are ready for a lunch break and we cooled off in front of the Clear Springs Cafe that was an old freight warehouse near the Southern Pacific Railroad. The building was constructed in 1873 for storing the local cotton corps. The restaurant was voted the best fried Catfish by Texas Highways Magazine.San Augustine is thirty-two miles east of Nacogdoches on US 96, State Highways 21 and 147, and on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. This area was inhabited by the Ais (Aies, Ayish) tribe of Hasinai Indians when explored by European visitors with the Moscoso expedition early in the 1540's. By 1860 San Augustine was a shipping center for cotton, but the Civil War interrupted this lucrative business. In the summer of 1861 San Augustine sent three companies into battle, and these were later followed by others. In 1862 a battalion of the Third Texas Brigade was stationed in the town to protect against invasion. Lumber companies, having exhausted the best of East Texas timberlands, moved out, thus eliminating an important source of income.TX 21 east for twenty five miles and we are in the middle of Toledo Bend Reservoir as we cross the Sabine River into Louisiana and LA 6. Toledo Bend had a surface area in 1993 of 181,600 acres and a storage capacity of 4,472,900 acre-feet and in early 1990's the reservoir was the largest lake in Texas or on its borders.LA 6 takes us through the open ranch land into Many, LA. After another fuel stop, including about five gallons of RM91 high test for old ST, the riders take a Dairy Queen break, before making the last twenty-six miles into Natchitoches, LA.Natchitoches the original French Colony in Louisiana retains flavor through its architecture, heritage and lifestyle. At the heart of this National Historic Landmark District lies Front Street, a brick thoroughfare where wrought iron balconies, restaurants and shops face the beautiful Cane River Lake. The city of Natchitoches was established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, making it the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory. Natchitoches soon became a flourishing river port and crossroads, giving rise to vast cotton kingdoms along the river.'A National Heritage Area is a place recognized by the United States Congress for its unique contribution to the American experience. In a national Heritage Area, natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. These patterns make National Heritage Areas representative of the National experience through the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved in the area. Continued use of the National Heritage Areas by people whose traditions helped to shape the landscapes enhances their significance.'The city of Natchitoches and the area along the Cane River is designated the Cane River National Heritage Area. We head south on LA 1 to Natchez, East on LA119. LA 119 is not on the Louisiana State Road map but, it follows the Cane River to the many Cane River Heritage Plantations and Historic sites.Several of the Plantations are private and some are occupied, that includes Oaklawn, Cherokee, Beau Fort, Melrose, and Badin-Roque House. Two of the large plantations are part of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park, Oakland and Magnolia, and owned by the National Park System.Oakland Plantation is very complete including the main house, doctor's house, overseer house, carriage house, pigeon houses, barns, slave quarters, and the company store. Being a National Park, it is open to everyone without a charge for admission. The area is original including the flower garden outlined with vintage wine bottles.We cross the Cane in front of Oakland on the new bridge built along side the original steel span one lane bridge it replaced. LA 119 follows the Cane as it curves around the large fertile fields growing grasses and wildflowers with very few crops. Ambroise Lecomte established Magnolia Plantation with its large-scale cotton production in 1830. By 1860 the Lecomtes were the largest slave holding family in Natchitoches Parish. Magnolia was the home site of their three plantations with a total of 5395 acres. The original house was built in 1850 and rebuilt in 1897 after the original was burned by retreating Union troops during the Civil War. The remaining buildings include a blacksmith shop, a plantation store, a former slave hospital, that at various times also housed the owners, and the overseer house, eight brick cabins and a gin barn. Magnolia's eight duplex-style quarters are remnants of a rare masonry slave village.The huge gin barn houses a gin and a rare wooden screw cotton press. The 11 by 30-foot cotton press still stands in its original location and was used until the late 19th century when the plantation converted to steam. The machinery still remains from the steam powered gin, including the seed removing equipment, pulleys on a large shaft and the steam powered press over a turntable.We received a personal tour by a park employee that was a resident and his relatives were former employees of the plantation.The Cane River Heritage Area is not very populated and most of the communities do not have restaurants. We had to go to Big Um's Truck Plaza gas station restaurant at exit LA490 on Interstate 49, for lunch. We had the Big Um's Burger and it was big, probably about a half pound of meat. We also sampled the fries, onion rings and Cajun fries. Back on LA 1, we visit Eva's Natchitoches Pecan Plantation & Store. This is a local active large Pecan operation. The staff was very friendly and the products were great. Eva tells us the book 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' was written by a local resident and the characters were based on local residents. The large barn next to the Pecan store is marked 'Home of Uncle Tom's Cabin'.South on LA 1, we pass a local Church and cemetery with the bodies buried on top of the ground. Some of the plots appear to have one tomb on top of another. We are told this is necessary to keep them from floating up with all the water in this area. Crossing the Red River at Boyce, on LA8, there is not much to the town of Boyce but, the bridge is long and high allowing river traffic along the Red. Colfax, LA on LA 8 just West of US 71 appears to once been a large commercial area but, now abandoned buildings and a hotel that still looks like it did in the 1930's.North on US 71 on the East bank of the Red River is protected by a large dike to keep it from flood waters. There are several small towns, Montgomery, St Maurice, and Clarence but we keep rolling. We turn West on LA 6 at Clarence and cross the Red River at Grand Ecore, and another long tall bridge.Another surprise in Louisiana, Grand Ecore visitor center overlooking the Red River. US Corp of Engineers operate this center and man it with very informative personnel. The displays feature videos, artifacts, and models showing history and river transport. The view of the river is great from the deck area about forty feet above the river channel.West on LA 6 takes us back in Natchitoches and after a little rest at the motel, we head into town and the Pioneer Pub. This local bar and grill had great food and was very reasonable. We were seated immediately and the service was great. We were very surprised by the decor and very pleased to see one of the ST Brothers ancestors, a Honda Super 90, as a major part of the decor.The temperature was in the lower 50's at sun up on Sunday but, had climbed to the mid 60's by the time everything was loaded. We took a tour of the local area along Williams Avenue to see the beautiful old houses and yards, before taking LA 6 west. We turn north on LA120 off LA 6 at Robeline. Small ranch land with lots of water in every low area covers this part of Louisiana. At LA175 we headed North to Pleasanthill and the Civil War battle site of the Red River Campaign. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and other organizations stage a reenactment of the battle at the Pleasanthill site. The participants dress and live the period for at least the weekend. They sleep in tents, wear uniforms and stage the battles just like it was 1864.The reality of the conditions and hardships endured by everyone is displayed at these events.At Mansfield, LA we turned West on US84 and as we approach the Sabine, we cross lots of creeks and bayous draining this part of the state. Logansport is located at the very north end of Toledo Bend Lake and we crossed the Sabine into Texas.Tenaha, Texas is located on US 84. 59, and 96, on the tracks of the Southern Pacific railway located eleven miles northwest of Center in northern Shelby County. The town was founded in 1885 as a shipping point for area lumbermen and farmers. The 'Whistle Stop Cafe' on the square was our lunch stop location. A good choice at most local cafe's is always the hamburger steak lunch and this was a good one.US84 through Tenaha and Timpson then back on Texas two lanes when we split off of US59. The highway is bordered with large pine trees and beautiful ranch land and numerous private lakes.Reklaw is a rural community at the junction of U.S. Highway 84 and State Highway 204 ten miles northeast of Rusk o the Cherokee - Rusk county line. The area was first settled during the period of the Republic of Texas. Several sawmills had been built in the vicinity prior to the Civil War, but the village did not grow until 1902 when the Texas and New Orleans Railroad was built. The town site was laid out on land owned by Margaret L. Walker. Local citizens wanted to name the new town Walker, so when the name was already in use in Texas, they spelled it backwards.While stopped in front of a once service station now a use appliance outlet in Reklaw, we noticed an open sign on a small auto parts store across the highway. We discover this is now a small local bakery. We sampled all the flavors of pies and they were all very good.We crossed the Angelina River three miles East of Reklaw and the Neches River fifteen miles West of Rusk. Rusk is in the center of Cherokee County at the junction of US 69 and 84, State Highway 110. The town was established by an act of the Texas legislature on April 11, 1846, and named after a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, Gen. Thomas Jefferson Rusk.The Texas State Railroad was constructed in 1893 linking the Rusk Penitentiary with work camps in Rice and Woodlawn. In the early 1900's Governor Thomas M. Campbell helped passage of a bill that authorized the extension of the Texas State Railroad from Rusk across the Neches River to connect it with the International Great Northern in Palestine.West of Rusk the Texas State Railroad runs just south of US 84 across the Neches River, then follows Still Creek in to Palestine. The track is located in the swamp area that drains into the Neches, avoiding the hills.We see more oaks and hardwood rather than pine trees as we approach Palestine on US 84. We take a short break at the A & W Root beer for a little refreshment and out last stop. Palestine is Anderson county seat, located on US Highways 79, 84. and 287, 100 miles southeast of Dallas, and 150 miles north of Houston. Named after Daniel Parker's former home in Palestine, Illinois, Texas Legislature established Anderson County in 1846, stipulating the county seat be in the center of the county. The International Great Northern Railroad arrived in 1872, opening shipping to the East, Houston and Laredo.The discovery of oil in 1920 at Boogy Creek, east of Palestine, diversified the town and carried it through the Great Depression. Four State prisons in the county also provided local jobs.Lake Palestine at reservoir of 25,500 surface acres on the Neches River, provides water. The Palestine Salt Works, also known as the Saline and Salt City, was located six miles southeast of Palestine in Anderson County, on the site of an early Indian Camp. Indians had been using the salt to preserve their meat and to trade other tribes until they sold it to white settlers in the early 1830's. C.W. and James McMean bought the location and worked it using slave labor. During the Civil War they provided salt for most area's of the state at prices set by the Confederate Government.US287 North takes us back to Eureka, but the Road King HD and ST1100 take TX22 West, TX55 North, FM875, to US287 back to Village Creek area. The area south of Waxahachie on TX55 had pastures covered with Bluebonnets. The Bluebonnets normally grow only in the bar ditches and grassy areas between service roads, this years heavy rains allowed bumper corps.What a ride, this has been one of the best we have ever experienced. The weather could not have been better, and the timing was perfect to see all the sites without crowds. The Good Lord watched over us for one more tour.hiramgj, 2007

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Texas, Louisiana. This motorcycle route has 8 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by ST1100 in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by ST1100

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Six(6) Rivers Tour April 07

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesUrban/ResidentialParksLakesForestRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

ST1100 says:

Sorry I did not post all the photos from this tour. My rider got a new Digital camera and we have about Sixty(60) photos we would love to share? Maybe we can update the post when we can add more photos?

Thanks for looking...C-yal, Old ST..Red and Ready..
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM


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