Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

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sckego
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Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby sckego » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:45 pm

Route Map

It's been a while since Vic was able to join me on anything more then a short around-town ride. Work and school don't leave her with much free time to get away, but she managed to keep a day this weekend free so that we could head out for some time together. It has been on our list for some time to ride up to Archer City, TX, the home of Pulitzer-and Academy Award-winning author Larry McMurtry (of Lonesome Dove and Brokeback Mountain fame), and visit his used bookstore, Booked Up. I don't recall who had told us about this place; we have a habit of wandering into small used bookstores wherever we go, and I think we fell into conversation with the owner of one of them, who mentioned it when he found out we were living in Texas. It was just about the perfect distance to make a good day ride out of it, and in a direction that I'd never really got around to exploring, so I mapped out a decent-looking route and we set off.

First stop: Breakfast at the Snooty Pig Cafe, just off of I-35 on our way out of DFW. I had posted up on my local riding board that we'd be riding today, and invited anyone else to come along, but there werre no takers. I think my disclaimer might have scared them away: "We'll be mainly on roads that I've never been on before and cannot vouch for the condition of; parts of this ride may involve rough pavement, potholes, gravel roads, velociraptors, and roving bands of highwaymen... but hopefully not." One of my buddies did show up to meet us for breakfast, though, before heading off to work for the day.

I know, he's not much to look at. Luckily, this is the last picture you'll see of him.
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Vic wolfing down some quesadillas.
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Normally I try to stick to Farm Roads for rides, which are always paved and well-signed, and usually make for pretty good riding. This time I routed us through some smaller roads, crossing my fingers that they wouldn't be too bad (I wasn't being facetious in my ride invite!) After getting away from DFW along major roads, we split off onto Old Agnes Rd, just east of Springtown, for the first of the country lanes we'd be on today.

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We continued along Lone Star Road, crossing straight over the major north-south highways as we worked our way west.

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As the morning wore on, the overcast began to break up and let some sun through... a welcome change from the cold overcast that we started out in.
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For the most part, the roads were pretty good, but there were some rougher areas spotted with potholes.
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Passing through the town (term used lightly) of Oran, we stopped for a photo op at the US Post Office.
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Getting back on major roads past the town of Graford, we were able to pick up our speed again. Past a field of windmills off in the distance.
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Maybe we picked up the speed a bit too much. Whoops. Luckily, we got away with a warning.
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Texas is dotted with roadside historical markers, many of which are dotted themselves with bullet holes.
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Heading northwest to Graham, there are two yellow lines shown on Google maps: the straight, boring looking TX-16, and the much more entertaining-looking Finis Road. You know which one I'm going to choose. Unfortunately, Finis Road turned out to be entertaining for all the wrong reasons...
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I asked Vic if she wanted to turn around and go back up TX-16. Her: "I don't care, it's your bike. We've done gravel before." Well, OK... We were actually able to keep up a pretty good pace, even managing to get the back a little loose with the throttle at a few corner exits. Psht, who needs a Multistrada?
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Back on pavement!
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...for about 200 yards. Then more gravel. Finally, pavement again... this time with a double yellow line. That's a good sign.
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We stopped in Graham for a walk around the Young County Courthouse. Found some appropriate parking along the curb.
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This arch is all that's left of the original courthouse (I guess that would make it the Old County Courthouse).
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That obelisk is a monument to Young County's veterans of the CSA.
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...and one to those who died in service to the USA.
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I found it interesting that some names had been removed from the wall. There were several instances of this... wonder why.
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Back on the road after our stretch break.
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There are many towns in Texas, so you're bound to find some funny names.
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Many of them seem to be past their prime.
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We're now heading north, instead of west, and the road signs have begun to mention Archer City.
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The wildflowers are in full bloom along the road as we speed through the sweeping pastureland.
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We reach Archer City at about 1 PM. We find parking along the town square next to a few cousins of the VFR's.
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It's been a few hours since breakfast, and we're ready for some lunch! Books can wait.
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The Archer County Courthouse.
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Hotel at the center of town.
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Finally, time to hit the bookstore. Booked Up has a somewhat unusual setup... while it started in one building, it soon spread to others, and now occupies four buildings around the town square. Most of the buildings are not staffed, and you need to take your selections to the main building to check out. We decide to start in Building No.4, since it's closest to where we had lunch.

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The organizational breakdown of the buildings.
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Posted inside the door...
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I pick an aisle with an interesting subject and start browsing. Vic decides to try and canvass the building before deciding where to start. She comes back ten minutes later mumbling to herself... "Oh god, I can't handle this. There's too much..."
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We make some selections and move on down the street. We decide to skip Building No.3, and head to No.2 instead, where Vic is overwhelmed again.
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Finally, we head across the street to No.1, which turns out to be the biggest of them all.
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This place is just too big.
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Heh, "New Arrivals."
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The staff, napping on duty.
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Not many pictures from the ride back, since Vic was getting tired and spent more time nodding off then taking in the scenery. It was a very nice ride though... that area of north Texas is very scenic, very green.
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We stopped off for dinner just before arriving home, and finally got back at around 8:00. It was nice to get out with the wifey again to do some exploring of new places, even if it was just a day ride. Hopefully after graduation in July we'll be able to get back out for some overnight trips. Till then, ride safe, and thanks for reading!
Kegan "Glowstick"
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby Meat of Snail » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:05 pm

:cool: :plus1: :icon_thumbsup:

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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby Blizzard_1708 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:12 pm

awesome post, hopefully after graduation we will be seeing more of these.

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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby Firewa11 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:22 pm

Great writeup as usual!
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby U-Turn » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:42 pm

Nice reading about your trip. Sounds like a nice Saturday.
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Those bikes you parked next to in Archer City. Were those a pair of the new NT-700V ?
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby djrtx » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:16 pm

"Those bikes you parked next to in Archer City. Were those a pair of the new NT-700V ?"

Those were Honda ST1300's.
Daniel J. Roe
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby WillK675 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:01 pm

Looks like fun. Wish I would have seen your post up sooner so I could have joined ya'll.
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby rayray » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:37 pm

:???: :cool: 8) :plus1:
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby dufremle » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:37 am

Looks like fun. Too many books though.
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Re: Backroads to Bookstores: A Day Ride to Archer City, TX

Postby El Diabro » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:23 am

Awesome write up!!!
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