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September 2013

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Albert Einstein

The End Of Summer

We are entering the last month of summer. We have endured some very hot weather. Many of our readers are looking forward to cooler riding temperatures. Hot weather does not keep us at home but there are so many things to think about, precautions to take and shorter ride times that affect our plans. Most of us look forward to the days we can ride from sunup until sundown without worrying about heat stroke. A little word of caution, our skin can still burn. Remember your sunscreen. Speaking of sunscreen, have you noticed they have 110 spf out now? You may have to remove it with a hammer and chisel, but it does a great job of protecting your skin from the radiation that causes irreparable damage.

Autumn is a time to look forward to many great rallies and other "Excuses to Ride." With the risk of being redundant, I wanted to revisit a couple of ride destination that I have covered in previous SSOM articles.

Atlanta Texas

I have to be honest with you. There is not a whole lot going on in Atlanta, unless you believe visiting the Wal*Mart is major entertainment. The town was named after Atlanta, Georgia. It seems a mob of Atlantites moved there and liked the name so much they slapped it on the new town in East Texas. I get a kick out of telling people I am going to Atlanta. I wait until they have finished telling me what they know about it and then add the word "Texas", where now follows their disclaimers and "I didn't know there was such a thing," comments. I see this as great fun but then again, I am easily amused.

Atlanta has experienced a couple of things of importance. It grew in population in the late 19th century, as the lumber industry came to exploit the forests of East Texas. The Great Depression put an end to that boom and it wasn't until the opening of the Rodessa oil field in 1935 that the town got back on its feet. It has never been a big town, topping the population mark at about 5,000.
So why do I mention this little known town located SW of Texarkana? Let me list a few:

96, 2572, 2791, 59, 236, 3129, 74, 785, 251, 995, 2328, 43, 77, 3129, 1841 and 249.

I may have missed one, but hopefully you'll see my point. These are roads very near or running through Atlanta. I left out the county roads. I can tell you from personal experience, several of these are a pure joy to ride and none, even the State Roads, will leave you wanting.

Atlanta State Park

View from the campsite
I have been to Atlanta State Park three times. Each time has been a wonderful experience. The first time was a get to know the park visit. I nosed around and was taken in by its beauty. The second trip was an effort to photograph the perigee moon; what our mislead media calls Super Moon. ** Just because it is the closest it will be in a particular year to earth doesn't qualify it as super. We have all come to expect the absurd from our mainstream media so this comes as no surprise. ** However, it was a very moving experience for me. The forest service had blocked off the area I had in mind for the shoot. An effort to clear out the dead timber and overgrown brush made it somewhat dangerous for families to camp there so they restricted entry to that portion of the park. I talked to the Rangers who understood my plan and gave me permission to hike in the area so I could fulfill my fantasy of getting the E.T. moon shot. While my inexperience and lack of proper equipment left me with less than stellar photos, the whole, being in the wilderness, by myself with nothing more than a camera and a flashlight, is an episode in my life I hold close to my heart and would love to repeat.

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The third visit was the best time so far. I had reservations for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. All the way there I was worried we had started too late and were not going to get a good campsite. As it turned out, there were two reasons I had little to be worried about. The first reason was simple. There are no bad campsites in the Atlanta State Park. I was needlessly fretting that all the sites on top would be gone. I had camped at the upper and lower locations and loved both of them. I prefer camping at the highest level. The second reason was of greater concern. It was the Fourth of July weekend and we might not only be aced out of a stellar site, but we could possibly be stuck next to a family with a dozen screaming children.

We arrived a little after noon. I entered the Ranger Station with that, I've-been-here-before swagger, and announced my last name. After a brief check of the computer system my reservation was confirmed. I asked for a campsite on the top. The Ranger turned a park map towards me and uncapped the trusty yellow highlighter. I asked which ones were still open? She replied, "All of them." You could have knocked me over with an exhaust pipe blast. I picked my favorite site and was elated to get it. We headed up to the campsite and were treated to a totally vacant area ... just us. I thought this was too good to be true. A holiday weekend and no crowds, woo hoo!!

Ranger Station
Wright Patman Lake
What To Do?

We all have our preferences. Many of us like to set up a comfortable chair, put a cooler within reach and spend time reflecting on the nature of humanity. Atlanta State Park is a great place to do just that.

Some like to bird watch. I know I loved watching the red headed woodpecker that frequented the trees around our camp.
I enjoyed the variety of flowers in and around the camp area. Every little trail we took provided us with a different size, shape and color of bloom. Of course I snapped away like I'd never get to take another picture as long as I lived.

What turned out to be the most memorable moment of our trip happened on Wright Patman Lake. Neither of us were too sure about renting a canoe. My companion had never canoed before and I didn't want to do all the paddling. Not to worry, we shared the load equally and it turned out to be great fun. Especially when we found ourselves in the middle of a huge lily pad grove. It was pure magic.
Ranger Station
Paddling Through the Lilly Pads
You may not be the only campers in the park. Other campers showed up sporadically, but never more than four camps, including ours, were occupied at any given time. I can promise you that if you decide to take my advice, your visit to Atlanta State Park will be worth every moment and dollar spent.

I hope y'all come by the website. The pictures in color are vivid. You will fall in love with the place and tell all your friends.

Well Buckaroos, the writing space is coming at a premium. I ran out of room. Trust me, I could go on and on about how much I love this park. It is time for you to find out for yourselves.

Don't forget; ride often, and ride hard, but mostly ...
Ride em if ya go em!

A Lilly
A Lilly
On Lake Wright Patman
On Lake Wright Patman
Lilly Pads
The Lilly Pad Forest
A Fantasy Moment
A Fantasy Moment
Sunrise over the lake
Sunrise Over Wright Patman Lake
A variety of plant-life
Plenty of Plants to View
A Flower
A Flower
Another Flower
A Flower
Thanks for stopping by